Dr. Lopategui on the Use of Liquid Biopsies in Lung Cancer

Jean Lopategui, MD
Published: Thursday, Feb 20, 2020



Jean Lopategui, MD, associate professor of pathology and director of Translational Genomics and of the Molecular Genetics Pathology Fellowship at Cedars-Sinai, discusses the use of liquid biopsies in lung cancer.

Liquid biopsies are still an emerging technology, says Lopategui. While these tests are considered to be a less invasive alternative to tissue biopsies, the 2020 National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines state that liquid biopsies should only be used if a patient is medically unfit for an invasive tissue biopsy or if there is inadequate tissue for molecular analysis.

One of the drawbacks of liquid biopsies is the rate of false-negative results, says Lopategui. Plasma-based circulating tumor (ct)DNA and detection requires a very high sensitivity. However, the number of ctDNA copies in patient samples is not always high; this can lead to false negatives. As such, if a liquid biopsy is performed, a follow-up tissue-based analysis should also be done if an oncogenic driver is not identified, concludes Lopategui.
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Jean Lopategui, MD, associate professor of pathology and director of Translational Genomics and of the Molecular Genetics Pathology Fellowship at Cedars-Sinai, discusses the use of liquid biopsies in lung cancer.

Liquid biopsies are still an emerging technology, says Lopategui. While these tests are considered to be a less invasive alternative to tissue biopsies, the 2020 National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines state that liquid biopsies should only be used if a patient is medically unfit for an invasive tissue biopsy or if there is inadequate tissue for molecular analysis.

One of the drawbacks of liquid biopsies is the rate of false-negative results, says Lopategui. Plasma-based circulating tumor (ct)DNA and detection requires a very high sensitivity. However, the number of ctDNA copies in patient samples is not always high; this can lead to false negatives. As such, if a liquid biopsy is performed, a follow-up tissue-based analysis should also be done if an oncogenic driver is not identified, concludes Lopategui.



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