What's Next for Circulating Tumor DNA in Colorectal Cancer?

By Cecilia Brown, Mary B. Morgan, MSN, ANP-BC, AOCN - Last Updated: November 15, 2023

A new era of liquid biopsy for colorectal cancer could be on the horizon. Mary B. Morgan, MSN, ANP-BC, AOCN, of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who presented on colorectal cancer (CRC) care at JADPRO Live, the Annual APSHO Meeting, discussed the real-world use of circulating tumor DNA for patients with CRC.

“Circulating tumor DNA is really the latest and greatest up-and-coming [method] we’re using now,” Ms. Morgan told Cancer Nursing Today.

Ms. Morgan spoke about her real-world experiences with circulating tumor DNA and how providers can use it to better understand a given patient’s disease. She recalled receiving a phone call from a friend questioning if adjuvant chemotherapy was the right approach. “I said, ‘Well, they should probably do your circulating tumor DNA. That will give them a better idea of where you could go moving forward.”

The Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where Ms. Morgan is a provider, is now using circulating tumor DNA routinely, noting that she just saw a patient who was having their 3-month circulating tumor DNA liquid biopsy drawn. Ms. Morgan discussed the applications of circulating tumor DNA testing in CRC.

“It’s going to be super important in telling us whether or not our treatments are working. It’s going to guide us on doing treatments or not,” Ms. Morgan said.

However, open questions remain, Ms. Morgan said, noting that it is still unclear what to do if a patient has circulating tumor DNA detected but has a negative result on an imaging scan.

“There is another talk at this session specifically on circulating tumor DNA… I’ll be interested to see if she has any data as to what’s going on elsewhere, if people are treating for positive circulating tumor DNA without positive scans,” Ms. Morgan said. “I think that’s the wave of the future guiding us, because it can be 6, 8, 9 months before you see anything on a scan. That’s a big window of opportunity that we’re missing to get some treatment on board.”

Post Tags:JADPRO 2023 CRC