Image showing individual and combined scans
Credit: Evis Sala
A new advanced computing technique using routine medical scans to enable doctors to take fewer, more accurate tumour biopsies, has been developed by cancer researchers at the University of Cambridge. This is an important step towards precision tissue sampling for cancer patients to help select the best treatment. In future the technique could even replace clinical biopsies with ‘virtual biopsies’, sparing patients invasive procedures.
This study provides an important milestone towards precision tissue sampling. We are truly pushing the boundaries in translating cutting edge research to routine clinical care
The research published in European Radiology shows that combining computed tomography (CT) scans with ultrasound images creates a visual guide for doctors to ensure they sample the full complexity of a tumour with fewer targeted biopsies.
Capturing the patchwork of different types of cancer cell within a tumour – known as tumour heterogeneity – is critical for selecting the best treatment because genetically-different cells may respond differently to treatment.
Most cancer patients undergo one or several biopsies to confirm diagnosis and plan their treatment. But because this is an invasive clinical procedure, there is an urgent need to reduce the number of biopsies taken and to make sure biopsies accurately sample the genetically-different cells in the tumour, particularly for ovarian cancer patients.
High grade serous ovarian (HGSO) cancer, the most common type of ovarian cancer, is referred to as a ‘silent killer’ because early symptoms can be difficult to pick up. By the time the cancer is diagnosed, it is often at an advanced stage, and survival rates have not changed much over the last 20 years.
But late diagnosis isn’t the only problem. HGSO tumours tend to have a high level of tumour heterogeneity and patients with more genetically-different patches of cancer cells tend to have a poorer response to treatment.
Professor Evis Sala from the Department of Radiology, co-lead CRUK Cambridge Centre Advanced Cancer Imaging Programme, leads a multi-disciplinary team of radiologists, physicists, oncologists and computational scientists using innovative computing techniques to reveal tumour heterogeneity from standard medical images. This new study, led by Professor Sala, involved a small group of patients with advanced ovarian cancer who were due to have ultrasound-guided biopsies prior to starting chemotherapy.
For the study, the patients first had a standard-of-care CT scan. A CT scanner uses x-rays and computing to create a 3D image of the tumour from multiple image ‘slices’ through the body.
The researchers then used a process called radiomics – using high-powered computing methods to analyse and extract additional information from the data-rich images created by the CT scanner – to identify and map distinct areas and features of the tumour. The tumour map was then superimposed on the ultrasound image of the tumour and the combined image used to guide the biopsy procedure.
By taking targeted biopsies using this method, the research team reported that the diversity of cancer cells within the tumour was successfully captured.
Co-first author Dr Lucian Beer, from the Department of Radiology and CRUK Cambridge Centre Ovarian Cancer Programme, said of the results: “Our study is a step forward to non-invasively unravel tumour heterogeneity by using standard-of-care CT-based radiomic tumour habitats for ultrasound-guided targeted biopsies.”
Co-first author Paula Martin-Gonzalez, from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and CRUK Cambridge Centre Ovarian Cancer Programme, added: “We will now be applying this method in a larger clinical study.”
Professor Sala said: “This study provides an important milestone towards precision tissue sampling. We are truly pushing the boundaries in translating cutting edge research to routine clinical care.”
Fiona Barve (56) is a science teacher who lives near Cambridge. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2017 after visiting her doctor with abdominal pain. She was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer and immediately underwent surgery and a course of chemotherapy. Since March 2019 she has been cancer free and is now back to teaching three days a week.
“I was diagnosed at a late stage and I was fortunate my surgery, which I received within four weeks of being diagnosed, and chemotherapy worked for me. I feel lucky to be around,” said Barve.
“When you are first undergoing the diagnosis of cancer, you feel as if you are on a conveyor belt, every part of the journey being extremely stressful. This new enhanced technique will reduce the need for several procedures and allow patients more time to adjust to their circumstances. It will enable more accurate diagnosis with less invasion of the body and mind. This can only be seen as positive progress.”
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- State College field hockey team rallies around former swimmer’s cancer fight. Here’s how to help
State College field hockey players wear pink and white jerseys on Oct. 6 during the Stick it to Cancer game. Abby Drey [email protected] Former State College swimmer Sarah Finton received some ...
- Ontario doctors encouraged to return to in-person care
Ontario doctors are being encouraged to return to in-person patient care. In a letter issued to physicians on Wednesday, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, assistant deputy ...
- Leading Researchers Present 24-Plex Digital PCR Assay and Novel Multiplex Applications Uniquely Enabled by Stilla’s 6-Color naica® system
Stilla Technologies joined researchers in presenting a 24-plex digital PCR assay generated on the 6-color naica® system to mark its commercial launch.
- 51% #1682: Breast Cancer Awareness Month
On this week’s 51%, we recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We tune into a virtual conference on women’s health at the University of Vermont Cancer Center, and speak with Albany Medical Center’s ...
- UNK student battles cancer with support of dad, friends and prayer
A bone marrow biopsy on Thursday in Omaha will determine ... Grace said she caught up on some virtual classes during the summer and now hopes to get her bachelor’s degree in exercise science ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Precision tissue sampling
- APCCC 2021: The Role of Somatic Tumor Testing – Implications for Treatment With PARP Inhibitors
In this session, Dr. Hussain discussed somatic testing in prostate cancer. Tumor genomic profiling is central to successful implementation of personalized for men diagnosed with prostate cancer. The ...
- Precision medicine data dive shows diuretic pill may be viable to test as Alzheimer's treatment
A commonly available, FDA-approved oral diuretic pill may be a potential candidate for an Alzheimer's disease treatment for those who are at genetic risk, according to new findings.
- Precision medicine data dive shows water pill may be viable to test as Alzheimer's treatment
A commonly available oral diuretic pill approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may be a potential candidate for an Alzheimer's disease treatment for those who are at genetic risk, according ...
- Cancer Tissue Diagnostics Market to Witness Excellent Revenue Growth, Emerging Trends and Forecast by 2031
Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2021-2031 . Cancer Tissue Diagnostics Market: Evolution ...
- Cross-platform analysis of cancer microarray data improves gene expression based classification of phenotypes
The extensive use of DNA microarray technology in the characterization of the cell transcriptome is leading to an ever increasing amount of microarray data from cancer studies. Although similar ...