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Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2017 Dec;17(12):1089-1096. doi: 10.1080/14737159.2017.1395701. Epub 2017 Nov 14.

Liquid biopsy in non-small cell lung cancer: a key role in the future of personalized medicine?

Pi C1,2, Zhang MF1,2, Peng XX1,3, Zhang YC1,2, Xu CR1, Zhou Q1,2.

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a Guangdong Lung Cancer Institute , Guangdong General Hospital and Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences , Guangdong , PR China.
b The Second School of Clinical Medicine , Southern Medical University , Guangdong , PR China.
c School of Medicine , South China University of Technology , Guangzhou , China.


Liquid biopsies, especially the analysis of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), as a novel and non-invasive method for the diagnosis and monitoring of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have already been implemented in clinical settings. The majority of ctDNA is released from apoptotic or necrotic tumor cells, thus reflecting the genetic profile of a tumor. Numerous studies have reported a high concordance in mutation profiles derived from liquid biopsy and tissue biopsy, especially in driver genes. Liquid biopsy could overcome the clonal heterogeneity of tumour biopsy, as it provides a single snapshot of a tumour tissue. Moreover, non-invasiveness is the biggest advantage for liquid biopsy, and the procedure can be repeatedly performed during the treatment for the purpose of monitoring. Therefore, ctDNA could act as a potential complementary method for tissue biopsies in diagnosis, prognostic, treatment response and resistance. Areas covered: This review summarizes the recent advancements in liquid biopsy with a focus on NSCLC, including its applications and technologies associated with assessing ctDNA. The authors conclude the review by discussing the challenges associated with liquid biopsy. Expert commentary: The analysis of ctDNA represents a promising method for liquid biopsy, which will be a novel and potentially complementary method in diagnosis, treatment and prognostic in NSCLC at all stages.


Liquid biopsy; clinical application; ctDNA; non-small cell lung cancer; personalised medicine

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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