Van K. Morris, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology of the Division of Cancer Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the role of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in resected colon cancer.
Regardless of stage, patients with colon cancer who have detectable ctDNA following surgery are at a higher risk of recurrence compared with those who have undetectable ctDNA after resection, explains Morris.
The presence of ctDNA in colon cancer serves as a surrogate for the presence of microscopic minimal residual disease, Morris says. Moreover, ctDNA has been shown to be a valid prognostic biomarker to stratify patients by their risk of recurrence.
However, utilizing ctDNA as a predictive biomarker to determine whether a patient is likely to respond to chemotherapy requires further research, concludes Morris.