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Monitor responses to treatment and help explain why some cancers are resistant to therapies.

Analyzing bloodstream samples from 640 sufferers with different cancers, the researchers used digital polymerase chain reaction-based technology to judge how well the DNA fragments predicted the current presence of tumors in the sufferers. The fragments, referred to as cell-free circulating tumor DNA , had been detected in the blood of more than 75 % of sufferers with advanced cancers and in at least half of individuals with localized, smaller sized tumors that hadn’t spread beyond the organ where the cancer originated and still had the prospect of cure.