Investigation of circulating tumour DNA in the early detection of KRAS and EGFR mutant cancers


  • Prof Julian Downward

    Institute of Cancer Research

Project summary

In common solid tumours where RAS or EGFR mutations are frequent, early surgical intervention is the most effective therapeutic approach. The most important limitation to the use of curative surgery is that patients present with cancers that have already spread beyond their primary site. Improved ability to detect cancers at a very early stage would allow greater usage of surgical intervention. While advances in the early detection of cancer are occurring on many fronts, developments in recent years have come from the ability to analyse tumour-derived DNA in circulating blood, either as circulating free-tumour DNA fragments or in circulating tumour cells. Professor Downward aims to investigate the potential of circulating free-tumour DNA to enable the early detection and characterisation of cancers, and to determine whether circulating free-tumour DNA is likely to have a utility as a tool for detection of cancers in the clinic.