Liquid Biopsies, What We Do Not Know (Yet)

Cancer Cell. 2017 Feb 13;31(2):172-179. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2017.01.002.


The inherent molecular heterogeneity of metastatic tumors and the ability of cancer genomes to dynamically evolve are not properly captured by tissue specimens. Analysis of cell-free DNA and circulating tumor cells has the potential to change clinical practice by exploiting blood rather than tissue as a source of information. Liquid biopsies are already used to monitor disease response and track the emergence of drug resistance. The suitability of blood-based molecular profiles for early detection and monitoring minimal residual disease is being evaluated. In this review, we address open questions in this fast-evolving field of research.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / blood*
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Exosomes
  • Genotyping Techniques
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating


  • DNA, Neoplasm