Liquid biopsy for cancer diagnosis and monitoring

A new thematic issue in Molecular Oncology reviews advances in the field of liquid biopsy, from discovery to clinical implementation.

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The concept of liquid biopsy was introduced in the field of cancer diagnostics in 2010. It refers to the probing of easily-accessible body fluids (mainly blood, but also cerebrospinal fluid, urine, sputum, ascites, or other) for circulating tumor-derived cells, extracellular vesicles, or molecules that can convey information about disease status and prognosis, patient stratification, and responses to treatment[1].


The reliable analysis and interpretation of liquid biopsy relies on the development of highly sensitive detection methods and discovery of tumor-specific markers, and involves several challenges. Current challenges in the field and future directions are discussed by key experts through an article collection. You may refer to these open access articles for more information on: circulating tumor cells[2],[3]; circulating tumor DNA[4]; liquid biopsy monitoring epigenetic markers[5]; analysis of DNA in extracellular vesicles[6]; challenges in the clinical application of plasma protein biomarkers[7]; and platelets as liquid biopsy sources for cancer detection[8].

[1] Alix-Panabiéres C, Pantel K (2021)  Liquid biopdy: from discovery to clinical implementationMol Oncol.  15,  1617 1621

[2] Vasseur A, Kiavue N, Bidard FC, Pierga JY & Cabel L (2020)  Clinical utility of circulating tumor cells: an update. Mol Oncol.  15,  1647 1666 

[3] Labib M & Kelley SO (2021)  Circulating tumor cell profiling for precision oncology. Mol Oncol.  15,  1622 1646 

[4] Filipska M & Rosell R (2020)  Mutated circulating tumor DNA as a liquid biopsy in lung cancer detection and treatment. Mol Oncol.  15,  1667 1682

[5] Lianidou E (2020)  Detection and relevance of epigenetic markers on ctDNA: recent advances and future outlook. Mol Oncol.  15,  1683 1700

[6] Elzanowska J, Semira C & Costa-Silva B (2020)  DNA in extracellular vesicles: biological and clinical aspects. Mol Oncol.  15,  1701 1714

[7] Landegren U & Hammond M (2020)  Cancer diagnostics based on plasma protein biomarkers: hard times but great expectations. Mol Oncol.  15,  1715 1726

[8] Antunes-Ferreira M, Koppers-Lalic D & Wurdinger T (2020)  Circulating platelets as liquid biopsy sources for cancer detection. Mol Oncol.  15,  1727 1743


Molecular Oncology

Molecular Oncology is an Open Access international journal that highlights new discoveries, approaches, as well as technical developments, in basic, clinical and discovery-driven translational cancer research.