Francesco Ravera, MD, PhD, on How cfDNA for pCR Assessment May Spare Biopsies in Breast Cancer

CancerNetwork® spoke with Francesco Ravera, MD, PhD, during the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2021 to discuss how results of a study aimed at determining pathological complete response in patients with locally advanced breast cancer by cell-free DNA may spare certain patients from needing further biopsies.

CancerNetwork® sat down with Francesco Ravera, MD, PhD, fellow in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Genoa in Italy, to discuss how results from his research impact future standards of practice. In a presentation at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2021, he and his fellow investigators determined that plasma cell-free DNA and MRI were better at predicting pathological complete response following neoadjuvant chemotherapy than MRI alone. These findings have the potential to prevent unnecessary biopsies in patients with breast cancer.


These results are quite interesting, but obviously require expansion. If these [results] are confirmed, I think that the effect and the possibilities of sparing lymph node biopsy in complete responders is quite concrete. But it’s only speculation. An appropriate way to assess the achievement of complete response may one day allow you to spare even breast surgery, but we are talking about speculation right now.


Cirmena G, Ferrando L, Ravera F, et al. Plasma cell-free DNA integrity predicts the achievement of pathological complete response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. Presented at: AACR Annual Meeting 2021; April 10-15, 2021; virtual. Abstract LB063.