In collaboration with: Prof.dr. M.M. van den Heuvel-Eibrink
Currently, renal cancer is confirmed through histological assessment of the tumor after surgery. However, patients are treated pre-operatively with chemotherapy, thebery delaying the histological diagnosis. In this project we investigate the potential of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) as diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for renal cancer. CtDNA consists of DNA fragments that were shed from tumor cells after for instance, apoptosis. Using cell-free reduced representation bisulfite sequencing (cfRRBS), we sequence methylated genes in ctDNA at diagnosis. The discovery of tumor-specific methylated genes may help us distinguish between histological subtypes of renal cancer at the start of treatment rather than after surgery. Furthermore, we use whole exome sequencing at diagnosis and before surgery to identify aberrations in ctDNA and compare them to those found in tumor DNA. If ctDNA and tumor DNA are comparable, we aim to implement liquid biopsies in the clinic to improve diagnostic accuracy and risk-stratification.