Liquid biopsy approaches for pleural effusion in lung cancer patients

Lung Cancer

Mol Biol Rep. 2020 Oct 7. doi: 10.1007/s11033-020-05869-7. Online ahead of print.


Genomic profiling of tumors has become the mainstay for diagnosis, treatment monitoring and a guide to precision medicine. However, in clinical practice, the detection of driver mutations in tumors has several procedural limitations owing to progressive disease and tumor heterogeneity. The current era of liquid biopsy promises a better solution. This diagnostic utility of liquid biopsy has been demonstrated by numerous studies for the detection of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in plasma for disease

diagnosis, prognosis, and prediction. However, cfDNAs are limited in blood circulation and still hurdles to achieve promising precision medicine. Malignant pleural effusion (MPE) is usually detected in advanced lung malignancy, which is rich in tumor cells. Extracellular vesicles and cfDNAs are the two major targets currently explored using MPE. Therefore, MPE can be used as a source of biomarkers in liquid biopsy for investigating tumor mutations. This review focuses on the liquid biopsy approaches for pleural effusion which may be explored as an alternative source for liquid biopsy in lung cancer patients to diagnose early disease progression.