Liquid biopsy – Emergence of a New Era in Diagnostics

liquid biopsy

Liquid biopsy also known as Fluid biopsy, is a minimally invasive technology that identifies molecular biomarkers using blood, urine or other liquid samples to detect various disease conditions such as cancer, prenatal testing and transplantation diagnostics without the need of invasive procedures. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs), Circulating free DNA (cfDNA), Circulating small-RNA and extracellular micro-vesicles (including exosomes) containing small-RNA, mRNA and DNA in the blood and other body fluids are utilized to diagnose the disease condition and to develop personalized treatment. The recent interest in molecular markers present in blood and urine has opened numerous new areas of investigation and new possibilities for molecular diagnosis.

Tissue biopsy is gold standard procedure for diagnosis of disease like cancer which has various clinical complications due to its invasive nature. Liquid biopsy can overcome this hurdle, which just requires few ml of blood or other body fluids that detects disease at very early stage before patient showing any signs of disease. This technology has the potential to more accurately monitor the disease progression in real time by allowing detection of DNA characterizing tumor heterogeneity when compared to conventional methods. In cancer, tumor-derived genetic changes, epigenetic alterations, and viral nucleic acids have been found in the blood of cancer patients. These findings have important implications for the detection, monitoring, and prognostication of many types of malignant cancers. In prenatal testing, the discovery of fetal DNA in maternal blood has provided a noninvasive source of fetal genetic material for analysis. This development has important implications for the realization of noninvasive prenatal testing and has provided new methods for the monitoring of pregnancy-associated disorders. Plasma DNA technology has also found recent applications in the fields of organ transplantation, post trauma monitoring and infectious agent detection.

Minimally invasive, lesser hospital stay, fewer side effects, early disease diagnosis, rapid testing speed and repeated sample availability are some of the advantages of the technology. False negative result is one of the main complications due to lack of standardization and skilled professionals that currently needs to be addressed, thus showing a huge space for advancement and growth of technology in coming years.

According to Infoholic Research analysis, the global liquid biopsy market is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 20% to reach $11.7 billion by 2023.

The liquid biopsy market is growing at a rapid phase with an increase in the investment for innovative test development and strategic acquisition, which can enhance the position of the market players. Increasing number of cancer, chronic disease and genetic abnormalities in the developing fetus will further increase the need of innovative liquid biopsy tests in the market.”

Arpitha Shetty,
Healthcare Market Research Analyst 
Infoholic Research