In a paper published in Science Translational Medicine this week, Florent Moulière and colleagues showed that DNA fragment length can be used as an alternative method for detecting circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). Previous studies mainly focus on improving sensitivity for detecting genomic alterations in liquid biopsy. Florent and his colleagues showed that differences in fragment lengths of circulating DNA are reflecting the tumor origin of these fragments, and could be leveraged to enhance sensitivity for detecting ctDNA, without the a priori knowledge of genomic alterations. Based on these findings, the researchers conclude that fragment size analysis and selective sequencing of short fragment sizes can boost ctDNA detection and complement the current methods of sequencing cfDNA for clinical applications, earlier diagnosis, and the study of tumor biology.
Since September Florent Moulière started as assistant professor at Amsterdam UMC Cancer Center Amsterdam, working within the Liquid Biopsy Center and department of pathology. He did his PhD in the field of molecular biology and liquid biopsy at the Institut de Recherche en Cancerologie de Montpellier, in France. Afterwards he moved to the UK to work as a post-doc at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge. Florent’s work within Cancer Center Amsterdam will focus on developing new methods to analyze liquid biopsy and cell-free DNA. Florent Moulière: “New sequencing technologies allow unique access to the biological properties of DNA in biological fluids at low cost. Multiples types of nucleic acids are released by cancer cells in circulation. Studying the properties of circulating tumor DNA seems a promising paradigm for the early detection of cancer, or for other challenging clinical applications. Together with the team within the Liquid Biopsy Center we aim at developing cheap but yet sensitive methodologies for improving the non-invasive detection of cancer”.