Lucence Launches First Liquid Biopsy Screening Study in Partnership with the VA Palo Alto Health Care System

Study will examine the use of non-invasive liquid biopsy in combination with imaging tools for lung cancer screening in high-risk patients

PALO ALTO, Calif.--()--In partnership with the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, precision oncology company Lucence is launching its first early detection study in the United States evaluating the use of its liquid biopsy technology in a screening context. The study, led by Rajesh Shah, MD, of the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System and Stanford University, will test the feasibility of using non-invasive liquid biopsy in patients at high-risk for lung cancer as a screening tool in combination with positron emission tomography–computed tomography (PET/CT).

The prospective, observational study, Liquid Biopsy in Combination with PET/CT Versus PET/CT alone in Diagnosis of Small Lung Nodules will compare the sensitivity and specificity of PET/CT in combination with liquid biopsy in detecting lung cancer in nodules six to 20 millimeters in size compared to PET/CT alone. The study will enroll high-risk patients who have at least one lung nodule deemed suspicious for cancer. Secondary endpoints include sensitivity and specificity of ctDNA genotyping and sensitivity and specificity of DNA methylation in detecting lung cancer. DNA methylation has emerged as a promising biomarker for early detection of lung cancer.

“Lung cancer is more prevalent among Veterans, but outcomes are better if cancer is detected earlier. There is a significant unmet need for a cost-effective, noninvasive assay to better identify patients with lung cancer, especially among Veterans,” said Dr. Rajesh Shah, MD, Director of Interventional Radiology and Associate Chief of Radiology at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System and the study’s Principal Investigator.

Lung cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer and the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Early detection of lung cancer has been shown to reduce mortality by 20%. The current standard of care for screening individuals at high risk of lung cancer is low dose computed tomography followed by additional invasive testing, such as percutaneous biopsy, bronchoscopy, or surgical procedure, if nodules are present. The expansion in early screening has led to an increase in patients with false positives who must then undergo uncomfortable and potentially complicating invasive tissue biopsies. A sensitive and specific non-invasive blood test for lung cancer screening could reduce costs and morbidity associated with unnecessary biopsy. This study is a significant step towards determining the feasibility of that approach on a large scale.

“A non-invasive liquid biopsy screening test that enables physicians to eliminate unnecessary invasive tests could both improve outcomes and the patient experience while reducing costs,” said Min-Han Tan, MBBS, PhD, Founding CEO of Lucence. “We are excited to initiate this study —the first study examining the use of Lucence’s AmpliMark technology for early detection of cancer in the United States—with the VA Palo Alto Health Care System to continue to develop evidence for liquid biopsy’s utility across the patient journey. We are proud to be partnering with Dr. Shah and the VA Palo Alto to serve such an important population.”

Earlier this year, Lucence launched LIQUIK, Liquid Biopsy for Detection of Actionable Genomic Biomarkers in Patients With Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, examining the use of the company’s amplicon-based LiquidHALLMARK® liquid biopsy assay versus tissue biopsy in detecting guideline-recommended biomarkers in lung cancer. LiquidHALLMARK is currently available to US oncologists as a laboratory developed test.

About Lucence

Lucence is a precision oncology company committed to bringing clarity to cancer care. Lucence makes ultrasensitive liquid biopsy tests to provide doctors and their patients life-changing information to enable earlier detection and effective treatment. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Lucence supplies personalized cancer care services through twin CLIA-licensed laboratories in the United States and Singapore. For more information, visit

About VA Palo Alto Health Care System

VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) is part of VA Sierra Pacific Network (VISN 21), which serves Veterans in northern and central California, Nevada, Hawaii, the Philippines, and U.S. Territories in the Pacific Basin. VAPAHCS consists of three inpatient facilities located at Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Livermore, in addition to seven Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) in San Jose, Capitola, Monterey, Stockton, Modesto, Sonora, and Fremont; as well as two residential homes for Veterans in the Compensated Work Therapy program. VAPAHCS operates over 750 beds, including three nursing homes and a 100-bed homeless domiciliary - all to serve more than 67,000 enrolled Veterans. For more information, visit


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