Liquid biopsies and cancer omics.

Cell Death Discov 2020 Nov 26;6(1):131. Epub 2020 Nov 26.

Torvergata Oncoscience Research Centre of Excellence, TOR, Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata, 00133, Rome, Italy.

The development of the sequencing technologies allowed the generation of huge amounts of molecular data from a single cancer specimen, allowing the clinical oncology to enter the era of the precision medicine. This massive amount of data is highlighting new details on cancer pathogenesis but still relies on tissue biopsies, which are unable to capture the dynamic nature of cancer through its evolution. This assumption led to the exploration of non-tissue sources of tumoral material opening the field of liquid biopsies. Blood, together with body fluids such as urines, or stool, from cancer patients, are analyzed applying the techniques used for the generation of omics data. With blood, this approach would allow to take into account tumor heterogeneity (since the circulating components such as CTCs, ctDNA, or ECVs derive from each cancer clone) in a time dependent manner, resulting in a somehow "real-time" understanding of cancer evolution. Liquid biopsies are beginning nowdays to be applied in many cancer contexts and are at the basis of many clinical trials in oncology.

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