Real-time liquid biopsies become a reality in cancer treatment

Niki Karachaliou, Clara Mayo-de-las-Casas, Miguel Angel Molina-Vila, Rafael Rosell


Certain fragments of DNA shed by tumours into the bloodstream can potentially be used to non-invasively screen for early-stage cancers, monitor responses to treatment and help explain why some cancers are resistant to therapies. For most tumours, a tissue biopsy is quite challenging in that it is costly, painful, or potentially risky for the patient. All these are good reasons to learn about cancer through blood and to get excited about the possibility of carrying out liquid biopsies. The development of non-invasive methods to detect and monitor tumours continues to be a major challenge in oncology.