Circulating cell-free nucleic acids as prognostic and therapy predictive tools for metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer

World J Clin Oncol. 2020 Jul 24;11(7):450-463. doi: 10.5306/wjco.v11.i7.450.


Metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer remains a disease hard to cure, and for this reason predictive tools to monitor disease progression and therapy response are an urgent need. In this respect, liquid biopsy on circulating cell-free nucleic acids represents an interesting strategy based on robust data. The low invasiveness and the possibility to target circulating cell-free tumor deoxyribonucleic acid underline the high specificity, sensitivity and clinical usability of the technique. Moreover, it has been observed that the cell-free tumor deoxyribonucleic acid of metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer patients can be representative of the tumor heterogeneity. Cell-free tumor deoxyribonucleic acids express the same behaviors as mutations: Variation in gene copy number or the methylation rate of the tumor tissue. Recently, circulating cell-free ribonucleic acid molecules have emerged as interesting markers to stratify the disease. Due to high-throughput technologies, liquid biopsy on circulating cell-free nucleic acids will soon be utilized in the clinical management of metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer patients.

Keywords: Cell-free tumor deoxyribonucleic acid; Circulating free deoxyribonucleic acid; Circulating free ribonucleic acid; Liquid biopsy; Metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer; Prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Review