Liquid Biopsy: Definition

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Liquid Biopsy Assays. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Liquid Biopsy: Definition

Liquid biopsy can be defined as a minimally invasive method to detect certain molecular biomarkers in blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or urine. These biomarkers can provide a variety of information about cancerous tumors. It can often serve as an alternative or supplemental test to surgical biopsies. Liquid biopsy typically analyzes circulating cancer cells or traces of a cancer's RNA or DNA present in a blood sample. A liquid biopsy may be used to help:
  • Detect cancers at an early stage
  • Plan treatment options that are most likely to work for a specific patient
  • Find out how well a treatment is working
  • Determine if the cancer has reoccurred