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Trovagene, USC Collaborate on Metastatic Colorectal Cancers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Trovagene today announced a clinical collaboration agreement with the University of Southern California for the use of the San Diego-based firm's cell-free DNA assays to genomically characterize metastatic colorectal cancers.

The partners will conduct a study with the goal of demonstrating that cell-free DNA from urine can serve as a viable systemic sample for colorectal cancer disease monitoring. The primary objectives are to evaluate the correlation of mutation frequencies in BRAF, KRAS, and PIK3CA oncogenes with tumor load, to monitor disease progression, and to assess genomic changes as a patient undergoes therapy, Trovagene said.

Heinz-Josef Lenz, associate director of clinical research at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, said that the gold standard for monitoring response to treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer is radiographic assessment, such as CT scans. While the technology is robust, it cannot assess dynamic changes in tumor tissue undergoing treatment, and the development of resistance to chemotherapy may go undetected for months, he said.

Trovagene's technology potentially can assess chemotherapy effectiveness in real time, and the study announced today will assess molecular testing of the tumor DNA in urine for monitoring the disease and detecting "development of resistant clones of the tumor on chemotherapy. The information may be critical to change the treatment strategy early before progression is documented on CT scans, resulting in more effective outcomes for our patients," he said in a statement.