Liquid biopsy in clinical oncology – fine-tuning precision medicine

Priskin Katalin (1, 4), Pintér Lajos (1, 4), Jaksa Gábor (1), Pólya Sára (1), Kahán Zsuzsa (2), Sükösd Farkas (3), Haracska Lajos (1, 4)
(1) Delta Bio 2000 Kft., Szeged
(2) Szegedi Tudományegyetem, Általános Orvostudományi Kar, Onkoterápiás Klinika, Szeged
(3) Szegedi Tudományegyetem, Általános Orvostudományi Kar, Patológiai Intézet, Szeged
(4) Magyar Tudományos Akadémia, Szegedi Biológiai Kutatóközpont, Genetikai Intézet, Szeged

The classical method of genetically characterising a tumour requires tissue biopsy with which a small sample is removed from the affected organ. This sample represents the tumour in the further analyses. However, the localised nature of sample collection limits representative characterisation. The so-called circulating tumour DNA, isolated from blood plasma after a simple sample collection, potentially enables the oncological analysis of all tumour tissues carrying genetic alterations that can be identified as markers. In order to maximally exploit the potentials of circulating tumour DNA, we must adjust the analytical tools to its specific features. The preanalytical handling and storage of the sample signifi cantly infl uences its further usability. In order to be able to detect a potential mutation in a mostly wild-type background, the development of new, specifi c methods is needed, most of which are based on next-generation sequencing techniques. In the past decades, the pronounced decrease in the costs of such techniques led to an accumulation of an immense amount of genetic information on tumorigenesis. Due to the development of sequencing technologies, the turnaround times of tests also decreased enabling their employment in routine care besides research. Starting from our research, this can be realised via three approaches: technological development, the implementation of our already existing diagnostic methods in liquid biopsy, and the construction of well-planned disease-specific gene panels. Based on international trends and our experience in serum diagnostics, we are certain that liquid biopsy will become a central pillar of oncological screening and precision oncology in the near future.

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