Clinical relevance of liquid biopsy for cancer screening

Rita Tanos, Alain R. Thierry


Curative therapies for cancer are often successful when it is early detected and treated. Cancer screening aims at detecting cancer at early stages, before symptoms appear, and when the treatment is most likely to be effective. But most cancer types lack well-established biomarkers allowing the identification of the disease. Non-invasive tests, such as liquid biopsy, hold promise for screening people for cancer and could help advance cancer early detection. Transposing liquid biopsy into clinic to improve survival rates of patients with various types of cancers has been attracting much attention, due to the great potential of blood-based biomarkers for early diagnosis. The present review focuses on the clinical relevance of liquid biopsy for cancer screening, and summarizes the different studies conducted on several circulating biomarkers including circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA), circulating tumor cells (CTCs), circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) and others, for the development of tests for early cancer detection.