Liquid Biopsy in Solid Malignancy

Genet Test Mol Biomarkers. 2019 Apr;23(4):284-296. doi: 10.1089/gtmb.2018.0237. Epub 2019 Mar 27.


The clinical utility of tissue biopsies in cancer management will continue to expand, especially with the evolving role of targeted therapies. "Liquid biopsy" refers to testing a patient's biofluid samples such as blood or urine to detect tumor-derived molecules and cells that can be used diagnostically and prognostically in the assessment of cancer. Many proof-of-concept and pilot studies have shown the clinical potential of liquid biopsies as diagnostic and prognostic markers which would provide a surrogate for the conventional "solid biopsy". In this review, we focus on three methods of liquid biopsy-circulating tumor cells, extracellular vesicles, and circulating tumor DNA-to provide a landscape view of their clinical applicability in cancer management and research.

Keywords: cancer; circulating DNA; circulating tumor cells; extracellular vesicles; liquid biopsy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biopsy
  • Body Fluids / chemistry
  • Circulating Tumor DNA / analysis*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / blood
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Extracellular Vesicles / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Liquid Biopsy / methods*
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating / metabolism
  • Prognosis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Circulating Tumor DNA
  • DNA, Neoplasm