Uncovering Brain Tumor Biomarkers in Blood and CSF
Three breakthrough studies may improve diagnosis and monitoring of brain tumors
Olivia Gaskill | | Quick Read
Although diagnosing brain tumors early is critical for better outcomes, accessing biomarkers in the brain presents unique challenges – a lack of minimally invasive methods, a complex location, and the natural blockade created by the blood-brain barrier, to name a few. Medulloblastomas and gliomas are the most common brain tumors in children and adults, respectively. Genomic characterization of medulloblastomas may lead to more precise molecular diagnoses – but biopsies are risky and may not accurately represent the tumor.
Analyzing circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may offer a route to accurate characterization and diagnosis of pediatric brain tumors. In a proof-of-concept study, researchers at the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology showed that CSF ctDNA holds valuable information about a tumor’s mutations and provides valuable information about prognosis and intratumoral genomic heterogeneity (1).
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