Send to

Choose Destination
Cancer Sci. 2019 Apr;110(4):1148-1155. doi: 10.1111/cas.13972. Epub 2019 Mar 4.

Clinical utility of circulating tumor DNA for colorectal cancer.

Author information

Department of Gastroenterology, Cancer Institute Hospital, Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research, Tokyo, Japan.
Cancer Precision Medicine Center, Cancer Institute, Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research, Tokyo, Japan.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is currently the most common type of cancer in Japan, and its prognosis has improved because of development of diagnosis and advancement in treatments including surgery and chemotherapy. However, because of intratumor heterogeneity and clonal evolution, tumors often develop resistance to treatment. Genotyping tumor tissue in search of somatic genetic alterations for actionable information has become routine examination in clinical practice. However, the inherent molecular heterogeneity of metastatic tumors and the ability of cancer genomes to dynamically evolve are not properly captured by tissue specimens only. Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) carrying tumor-specific genetic or epigenetic alterations is released into the circulation from tumor cells undergoing apoptosis or necrosis. Analysis of ctDNA has the potential to change clinical practice by exploiting blood rather than tissue, as a source of information. Here, we provide an overview of the characteristics of ctDNA and focus on detection methods for ctDNA, and the feasibility of use of ctDNA to monitor tumor dynamics for patients with colorectal cancer.


circulating tumor DNA; colorectal cancer; liquid biopsy; next-generation sequencing; tumor mutation burden

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center