The dawn of the liquid biopsy in the fight against cancer

Irma G. Domínguez-Vigil, Ana K. Moreno-Martínez, Julia Y. Wang, Michael H. A. Roehrl _ and Hugo A. Barrera-Saldaña

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:2912-2922. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23131

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Irma G. Domínguez-Vigil1, Ana K. Moreno-Martínez1,2, Julia Y. Wang3, Michael H. A. Roehrl4 and Hugo A. Barrera-Saldaña1,5

1Departamento de Bioquímica y Medicina Molecular, Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

2Genetics Laboratory, Vitagénesis, Monterrey, Nuevo León, México

3Curandis Laboratories, New York, NY, USA

4Department of Pathology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA

5TecSalud, Tecnológico de Monterrey, San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León, México

Correspondence to:

Michael H. A. Roehrl, email: [email protected]

Hugo A. Barrera-Saldaña, email: [email protected]

Keywords: liquid biopsy; cfDNA; ctDNA; early detection; diagnostics

Received: October 17, 2017     Accepted: November 10, 2017     Published: December 08, 2017


Cancer is a molecular disease associated with alterations in the genome, which, thanks to the highly improved sensitivity of mutation detection techniques, can be identified in cell-free DNA (cfDNA) circulating in blood, a method also called liquid biopsy. This is a non-invasive alternative to surgical biopsy and has the potential of revealing the molecular signature of tumors to aid in the individualization of treatments. In this review, we focus on cfDNA analysis, its advantages, and clinical applications employing genomic tools (NGS and dPCR) particularly in the field of oncology, and highlight its valuable contributions to early detection, prognosis, and prediction of treatment response.

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