A droplet digital polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique shows promise for predicting recurrence of Ewing sarcoma in specific patients, according to a study published in Cancer.1

Patients who achieve a complete response to treatments for Ewing Sarcoma frequently experience recurrence, especially when the disease has metastasized. Researchers used a PCR technique to identify the EWS-ETS protein breakpoints specific to each tumor (identifiable in up to 95% of all cases of Ewing sarcoma).

Breakpoint DNA fragments specific to each of these tumors, which were derived from Ewing sarcoma cell lines, xenografts, and patient and mice tumors, correlated both with tumor burden during initial growth, post-resection, and at recurrence. The researchers were able to detect these fragments in 2 patients for whom the disease was present but undetectable by radiograph.

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The authors concluded that droplet digital PCR may be used as a personalized biomarker to predict recurrence of Ewing sarcoma in patients who have achieved a complete response.


  1. Hayashi M, Chu D, Meyer CF, Llosa NJ, McCarty G, Morris CD, et al. Highly personalized detection of minimal Ewing sarcoma disease burden from plasma tumor DNA [published online ahead of print June 28, 2016]. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30144.