Future cancer treatment could be determined by the use of a non-invasive blood test.
Currently, to discover the best course of action for many patients, doctors need to conduct biopsies to investigate the genetic make up of specific tumours.
However, scientists have successfully used a new blood examination to build an accurate assessment of how cancers respond to treatment by measuring the amount of faulty DNA they shed.
This, investigators explained, also had the advantage of giving doctors a more thorough account on how the disease is responding to treatment and not just one tumour.
Dr James Brenton, Cancer Research UK ovarian cancer clinician and study author, said: “Our technique is much more comprehensive and practical than others that have been used to measure DNA in the blood."
He added that the tests could also give real-time information allowing doctors to easily change a patient's treatment to be more effective.
According to the charity, there are more than 200 types of different cancer, each with their own causes, symptoms and treatments.