Montréal, QC, Canada – July 8, 2023 – Droplet Biosciences, a pioneer in harnessing the power of lymphatic fluid to provide earlier and more sensitive cancer diagnostics, released its initial research data this morning at AACR-AHNS Head and Neck Conference: Innovating through Basic, Clinical and Translational Research. The abstract Detection of minimal residual disease in post-surgical drain fluid can predict locoregional recurrence in HPV-negative head and neck cancer patients, was presented by co-founder and co-chair of AACR-AHNS, Dr. Jose Zevallos, MD, MPH, Eugene N. Myers M.D. Chair of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC. The presentation highlighted Droplet’s ability to detect residual disease immediately after surgery, while current methods can take weeks or months using plasma-based liquid biopsies.
“This data suggests that lymph liquid biopsy provides superior detection of residual disease compared to plasma. Our assay offers an unprecedented view of local metastatic processes and the tumor microenvironment. We look forward to expanding these studies to continue to learn how this unique fluid can identify patients at increased risk of disease recurrence immediately after surgery,” said Wendy Winckler, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer.
The study found that lymph collected 24 hours after surgery could accurately predict recurrence (sensitivity = 89%, specificity = 82%; p < 0.005), while plasma collected at the same time point could not (sensitivity = 67%, specificity = 40%; p = 0.59). This effect was particularly pronounced in patients with locoregional relapse. Additionally, researchers identified that ctDNA allelic fraction was significantly higher in lymph than in plasma, enabling a higher tumor mutation detection rate in the lymph for patients whose disease would recur within the first year of follow up. Droplet’s test also outperformed high-risk pathology features for identifying patients who would relapse.
Dr. Zevallos reinforced the clinical importance of Droplet’s assay. “This patient population has a high unmet need, as traditional therapies and biomarkers still provide a low overall survival for head and neck cancer patients with HPV-negative disease. With the Droplet assay, we will be able to provide clinicians and patients with an additional tool to inform decision making and improve patient outcomes and quality of life, which would have a significant impact in the field.”
About Droplet Biosciences
Founded in 2021, Cambridge, MA-based Droplet Biosciences harnesses the power of lymphatic fluid to provide earlier and more sensitive cancer diagnostics. For more information, visit dropletbiosci.com.