The lab: Circulating Tumor biomarkers group

Lab's research themes:

The laboratory aims at investigating the clinical relevance of circulating tumor biomarkers that are related to the tumor dissemination and metastatic process.

Merits of the lab:

BTC lab, headed by Pr François-Clément Bidard, is one of the leading French labs for analyzing circulating tumor biomarkers, including circulating tumor cells (CTCs), circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). The lab has a long track record in circulating tumor cells (CTCs) enumeration by Cellsearch system (Menarini) and circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) detection by droplet-based digital PCR (ddPCR) and serves as a platform for real-time CTC and ctDNA assessment in several clinical trials (NCT04720729: MONDRIAN/Breast cancer, NCT04790682/LIBERTY LUNG/non-small cell lung cancer, NCT02866149: ALCINA/Breast cancer).

We have demonstrated that the CTC count might be used as a reliable biomarker method for guiding the choice between chemotherapy and endocrine therapy as the first-line treatment in hormone receptor–positive, ERBB2-negative metastatic breast cancer (JAMA Oncol. 2021 Jan 1;7(1):34-41.) and in most patients, resistance-associated mutations (ESR1 mutation) in the estrogen receptor gene can be detected and targeted before tumor progression (NCT03079011: PADA-1 trial/Breast cancer) which allows the optimization of the endocrine therapy partner of CDK4/6 [cyclin-dependent kinase 4 and 6] inhibitor”.

Why do we want medical doctors?

Prof. François-Clément Bidard is an oncologist working at Institut Curie and the University of Versailles, France. Currently, several clinical assays are ongoing in the laboratory. A recruited MD-PhD EMERALD fellow will quickly integrate into the projects, enforce these connections with the biologists in the wet-lab and benefit from this joint environment.

Country: France

The position

What’s the main purpose of our research?

The project that we would like to propose for MD-PhD programme EMERALD is to monitor the treatment efficiency of immunotherapy by tracing ctDNA in plasma from metastatic non-small cell lung cancer patients (NSCLC) (LibertyLung, NCT04790682) or triple-negative breast cancer patients (ALCINA4, NCT05088395) who are eligible for immune checkpoint inhibitors treatments and to predict the relapse.

How we will do it?

The blood samples will be collected before and after treatments till relapse. Cell free circulating DNA (cfcDNA) will be extracted and ctDNA will be quantified with ddPCR by targeting the somatic mutations detected in tumor DNA from the same patient by next generation sequencing. Following this, the associations between ctDNA detection and the patients’ outcomes will be evaluated.

Why is this important?

This project will allow us to validate the correlation of ctDNA changes with response and survival to immune checkpoint inhibitors in metastatic NSCLC, receiving immunotherapy in the first-line setting, with a follow-up all during the duration of treatment, in a sufficiently large cohort (n=220) to provide a high level of evidence for designing subsequent, interventional studies. In breast cancer patients, this study will allow us to monitor the treatment efficiency of immune checkpoint inhibitors in a small cohort of triple-negative breast cancer patients (n=80) to have preliminary results.

Who is a good fit for the project?

Experience in oncology and interest in liquid biopsy, circulating tumor biomarkers and its clinical relevance.


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