Blood test as good as biopsy in lung cancer detection

Cristin Flanagan
An image shows a patient with lung cancer during a demonstration at Royal Oak Beaumont in this Tuesday, May 8, 2007, file photo.

Time is of the essence for lung cancer patients, and new results from a study of Guardant Health’s blood test showed that Guardant360 is as accurate as a standard biopsy in identifying biomarkers of the disease – while getting back results in less time.

Among the 282 newly diagnosed patients with advanced lung cancer in the study, Guardant360’s sequencing technology was able to identify cancer biomarkers in 77 patients by itself, while tissue biopsies found 60. These biomarkers can be key in steering patients toward new precision medicines that target specific tumor mutations and improve a patient’s odds of survival.

“Guardant360 may establish a new standard of care for testing in the first-line setting for lung cancer patients,” Chief Executive Officer Helmy Eltoukhy said in an interview before the data were released.

Less than 10 percent of patients get the guideline-recommended testing, according to one of the study’s authors. Eltoukhy expects that doing a liquid biopsy via a blood draw instead of a slower, more expensive and risky tissue sampling may lead more patients to complete the recommended testing.

Getting the results to doctors and patients took around nine days in the study with Guardant360, compared with 15 days with tissue-based tests, which aren’t always able to get enough tissue from patients to test for all the available mutations. The results of the study known as Noninvasive versus Invasive Lung Evaluation or “NILE” will be presented at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting starting in Atlanta late next month.

With assistance from Richard Richtmyer.