Liquid biopsy for the detection and management of surgically resectable tumors

Barbara Aldana Blanco, Christopher L. Wolfgang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Traditional biopsies have numerous limitations in the developing era of precision medicine, with cancer treatment that relies on biomarkers to guide therapy. Tumor heterogeneity raises the potential for sampling error with the use of traditional biopsy of the primary tumor. Moreover, tumors continuously evolve as new clones arise in the natural course of the disease and under the pressure of treatment. Since traditional biopsy is invasive, it is neither feasible nor practical to perform serial biopsies to guide treatment in real time. Purpose: The current manuscript will review the most commonly used types of liquid biopsy and how these apply to surgical patients in terms of diagnosis, prediction of outcome, and guiding therapy. Conclusions: Liquid biopsy has the potential to overcome many of the limitations of traditional biopsy as a highly tailored, minimally invasive, and cost-effective method to screen and monitor response to treatment. However, many challenges still need to be overcome before liquid biopsy becomes a reliable and widely available option.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-525
Number of pages9
JournalLangenbeck's Archives of Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Circulating tumor DNA
  • Circulating tumor cells
  • Liquid biopsy
  • Precision Medicine
  • Traditional biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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