Liquid Biopsy in Oligometastatic Prostate Cancer-A Biologist's Point of View

Front Oncol. 2019 Aug 14;9:775. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2019.00775. eCollection 2019.


Prostate cancer (PCa) is the main cause of cancer-related mortality in males and the diagnosis, treatment, and care of these patients places a great burden on healthcare systems globally. Clinically, PCa is highly heterogeneous, ranging from indolent tumors to highly aggressive disease. In many cases treatment-generally either radiotherapy (RT) or surgery-can be curative. Several key genetic and demographic factors such as age, family history, genetic susceptibility, and race are associated with a high incidence of PCa. While our understanding of PCa, which is mainly based on the tools of molecular biology-has improved dramatically in recent years, efforts to better understand this complex disease have led to the identification of a new type of PCa-oligometastatic PCa. Oligometastatic disease should be considered an individual, heterogeneous entity with distinct metastatic phenotypes and, consequently, wide prognostic variability. In general, patients with oligometastatic disease typically present less biologically aggressive tumors whose metastatic potential is more limited and which are slow-growing. These patients are good candidates for more aggressive treatment approaches. The main aim of the presented review was to evaluate the utility of liquid biopsy for diagnostic purposes in PCa and for use in monitoring disease progression and treatment response, particularly in patients with oligometastatic PCa. Liquid biopsies offer a rapid, non-invasive approach whose use t is expected to play an important role in routine clinical practice to benefit patients. However, more research is needed to resolve the many existing discrepancies with regard to the definition and isolation method for specific biomarkers, as well as the need to determine the most appropriate markers. Consequently, the current priority in this field is to standardize liquid biopsy-based techniques. This review will help to improve understanding of the biology of PCa, particularly the recently defined condition known as "oligometastatic PCa". The presented review of the body of evidence suggests that additional research in molecular biology may help to establish novel treatments for oligometastatic PCa. In the near future, the treatment of PCa will require an interdisciplinary approach involving active cooperation among clinicians, physicians, and biologists.

Keywords: circulating tumor cell (CTC); liquid biopsy; long-non coding RNAs; microRNA; oligometastasis; prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Review