Over the last five years, developments in blood tests and next-generation sequencing have enabled the analysis of biomarkers produced by the tumors and released into the blood. These markers can include, circulating free DNA (cfDNA) fragments – termed circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) – and circulating tumor cells.
Liquid biopsies provide many advantages over the tissue biopsies that currently dominate in clinic, due to the fact they are usually in a blood test format. These advantages include minimal invasiveness, repeatability and reproducibility, cost-effectiveness and the ability to detect a broader range of cancers compared to a tissue biopsy [ref].
At the moment a liquid biopsy is not a routine test available to clinicians, but the potential applications are rapidly growing. In this article, we take a look at some of the major potential implications of liquid biopsies in clinical practice.
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