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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2016 Aug;140(8):825-9. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2016-0163-SA. Epub 2016 May 19.

Liquid Biopsy in Lung Cancer: A Perspective From Members of the Pulmonary Pathology Society.

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From the Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (Drs Sholl and Vivero); the Department of Pathology, University of Colorado Cancer Center, Denver (Dr Aisner); the Department of Pathology, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston (Dr Allen); the Department of Pathology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York (Dr Beasley); the Department of Pathology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York, and the Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas (Dr Cagle); the Department of Pathology, University of Sao Paulo Medical School, Sao Paulo, Brazil (Dr Capelozzi); the Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Dr Dacic); the Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston (Drs Hariri and Mino-Kenudson); the Department of Pathology, Aberdeen University Medical School and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom (Dr Kerr); the Department of Biopathology, Centre Léon Bérard, Lyon, France, and J Fourier University-INSERM U 823-Institut A Bonniot, Grenoble, France (Dr Lantuejoul); the Department of Pathology, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois (Dr Raparia); the Department of Pathology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York (Dr Rekhtman); the Department of Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston (Dr Roy-Chowdhuri); the Department of Pathology, VU Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (Dr Thunnissen); the Department of Pathology, University Health Network/Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Dr Tsao); and the Department of Pathology and Molecular Diagnostics, Aichi Cancer Center, Nagoya, Japan (Dr Yatabe).


Liquid biopsy has received extensive media coverage and has been called the holy grail of cancer detection. Attempts at circulating tumor cell and genetic material capture have been progressing for several years, and recent financially and technically feasible improvements of cell capture devices, plasma isolation techniques, and highly sensitive polymerase chain reaction- and sequencing-based methods have advanced the possibility of liquid biopsy of solid tumors. Although practical use of circulating RNA-based testing has been hindered by the need to fractionate blood to enrich for RNAs, the detection of circulating tumor cells has profited from advances in cell capture technology. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved one circulating tumor cell selection platform, the CellSearch System. Although the use of liquid biopsy in a patient population with a genomically defined solid tumor may potentially be clinically useful, it currently does not supersede conventional pretreatment tissue diagnosis of lung cancer. Liquid biopsy has not been validated for lung cancer diagnosis, and its lower sensitivity could lead to significant diagnostic delay if liquid biopsy were to be used in lieu of tissue biopsy. Ultimately, notwithstanding the enthusiasm encompassing liquid biopsy, its clinical utility remains unproven.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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