Ann Surg Oncol. 2020 Aug 9. doi: 10.1245/s10434-020-09002-7. Online ahead of print.
Precision medicine with genetic profiling of tumor tissue has become an essential part of routine clinical practice in colorectal cancer. However, tissue genetic profiling suffers from clonal evolution, tumor heterogeneity, and time needed to deliver critical information for prompt clinical decision making. In contrast, liquid biopsy with plasma circulating tumor DNA provides genetic and epigenetic information from both the primary and metastatic colorectal cancer, which can potentially capture
tumor heterogeneity and evolution with time and treatment. In addition, liquid biopsy with circulating tumor DNA is minimally invasive, quicker, and easily repeatable with high patient compliance to provide both qualitative and quantitative molecular information in real-time. We provide an overview on the potential clinical applications of circulating tumor DNA in the screening, surveillance, and treatment monitoring of colorectal cancer.