One such cancer is throat cancer (Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas) caused by the Human papillomavirus. It constitutes 3-5% of all malignancies worldwide, and there are approximately 600,000 newly diagnosed cases annually.
‘A fragmented form of DNA that arises from the throat cancer cells circulates in the blood. It can be easily used as a marker to monitor the response rates related to cancer therapies.’
Existing scientific evidence shows that HPV ctDNA is related to the total disease burden. People who showed a rapid clearance profile of HPV ctDNA due to chemoradiation are also less likely to develop cancer again. The HPV ctDNA is a fragmented form of DNA that comes from the cancerous cells developed by HPV infection.
Researchers of the current study used all these data and hypothesized that an HPV16 ctDNA test would offer a precise prediction about disease status before radiographic imaging in patients.
Hence, they developed a digital PCR -based assay that detects the levels of HPV16 circulating tumor DNA in plasma samples. They also clinically validated this diagnostic tool and confirmed that it could be used as an early predictive biomarker to guide treatment decisions in throat cancers caused by HPV infection.
The complete research study performed by the scientists was published in the journal Oncotarget.