A blood test that detects circulating tumor DNA can predict recurrence of HPV-driven oropharyngeal cancer following treatment, according to research presented February 24 at the 2022 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancers Symposium.
The multi-institutional study, presented by Dr. Glenn Hanna from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, indicated that the biomarker test may detect recurrent disease earlier than imaging or
other standard methods of post-treatment surveillance. Hanna said this allows physicians to personalize treatment more quickly for patients whose cancer returns.
Researchers looked at data from 1,076 patients who had one or more tests to detect circulating tumor tissue modified viral (TTMV)-HPV DNA as part of their post-treatment surveillance.
Of the 80 patients who tested positive for the biomarker in surveillance, 95% were confirmed through imaging, biopsy, and/or endoscopy as having recurrent HPV-positive disease. The presence of TTMV-HPV DNA was the first indicator of recurrence for 72% of the patients whose cancer returned, and 48% of the recurrences were found in patients tested more than 12 months after completing therapy.