- Advances in liquid biopsy analysis can shed new light on metastasis biology and the therapy-induced selection of cancer cells, help aid diagnostics, and improve the stratification of therapies.
Why this matters
- The development of more sensitive liquid biopsy assays may create opportunities for multiple applications in the detection, monitoring, and targeting of tumors.
- Liquid biopsies analyze both circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and material released by tumor cells in the peripheral blood (ctDNA).
- Liquid biopsy assays are currently being validated for early detection of cancer.
- CTCs and ctDNA analyses can obtain independent information on prognosis in early and advanced stages of disease.
- CTC counts at initial diagnosis can help stratify risk.
- Sequential ctDNA (or CTC) analysis can aid in early relapse detection and identify therapeutic targets or mechanisms of resistance of metastatic cells in individual patients.
- Monitoring of CTCs and ctDNA before, during, and after therapy can reveal response to therapy.
- CTCs may provide information on tumor resistance (androgen receptor variant 7 in prostate cancer, estrogen receptor gene [ESR1] in breast cancer) that may predict therapy success.
- The development of in vitro and in vivo cell lines and xenografts derived from CTCs might create models for drug testing.