Low-frequency focused ultrasound can exert a mechanical force on a tumor to promote the release of biomarkers – chemical signals that are specific to the tumor – into the blood stream.

These tumor biomarkers are typically in the blood at low levels that are difficult to differentiate from any noise, however, after focused ultrasound treatment, the increased levels may be more easily detected1.

This bioeffect has a number of potential clinical applications. After the treatment of a known tumor, focused ultrasound could be used to determine the efficacy of the initial treatment by enabling periodic measurement of the biomarkers. If a potential tumor site has been identified, this mechanism could also be used to determine whether there in fact is a tumor or not. This can even potentially be used to confirm a cancer diagnosis rather than a minimally-invasive biopsy for certain types of cancer. Additionally, the presence or absence of a particular biomarker can be useful in determining the most effective treatment modality for a patient1-3.

References:

[1] A. L. D’Souza, J. R. Tseng, K. B. Pauly, S. Guccione, J. Rosenberg, S. S. Gambhir, and G. M. Glazer, “A strategy for blood biomarker amplification and localization using ultrasound.,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. United States Am., vol. 106, no. 40, pp. 17152–17157, Oct. 2009. 

[2] Sawyers CL. The cancer biomarker problem. Nature. 2008;452:548–52.

[3] Chatterjee SK, Zetter BR. Cancer biomarkers: knowing the present and predicting the future. Future Oncol. 2005;1:37–50.

Click here for additional references from PubMed.

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