lenzHeinz-Josef Lenz, MD FACPTrovagene Inc, San Diego, is working with the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, to study genomic characterizations of metastatic colorectal cancers using the company’s proprietary cell-free DNA assays.

The study aims to demonstrate that cell-free DNA obtained from urine is a viable systemic sample for colorectal cancer disease monitoring, which includes measuring therapy response, identifying cancer genomic changes, and monitoring disease progression.

“The current gold standard for monitoring response to treatment in metastatic colorectal cancer patients is radiographic assessment, typically by CT–scan,” says Heinz-Josef Lenz, MD, FACP, associate director, clinical research, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Although robust, it lacks the ability to assess the dynamic changes in the tumor tissue undergoing treatment. Thus development of chemo-resistance may be undetected for months before progression is seen on CT-scans.

“Trovagene technology has the potential to assess the effectiveness of chemotherapy in real time,” he adds. “Our study evaluates the role of using molecular testing of the tumor DNA in urine as a tool for monitoring the disease and detecting development of resistant clones of the tumor on chemotherapy. The information may be critical to change the treatment strategy early before progression is documented on CT-scans, resulting in more effective outcomes for our patients.”

Mark Erlander, CSO, Trovagene says the company’s technology offers the possibility for clinicians to obtain more frequent clinically actionable information to drive treatment decisions, with the goal of complementing more invasive, difficult, and expensive tests that require blood, tissue biopsy, or CT-scans.

Colorectal cancers are considered to be among the most challenging cancers to treat. There are approximately 140,000 newly diagnosed colorectal cancer patients annually in the United States.

Mutations of KRAS, BRAF or PIK3CA oncogenes are present in more than 50% of colorectal cancers and frequently occur during the course of therapy, thereby effecting response to treatment and/or prognosis.

[Source: Trovagene]