Dr. Strickler on Applications for Liquid Biopsies in GI Cancer

John Strickler, MD
Published: Friday, Dec 21, 2018



John Strickler, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, gastrointestinal oncologist, Duke Cancer Institute, discusses applications for liquid biopsies in gastrointestinal (GI) cancer.

Currently, tissue biopsies are still the standard in routine clinical practice, but liquid biopsies are being used in select circumstances to help guide treatments for patients. Sometimes, Strickler says, there is simply not enough tissue in a patient’s tumor to perform an effective biopsy. Then, a liquid biopsy would be used. If a patient’s tumor biology is thought to have evolved over some period of time, the best choice would be to use a liquid biopsy, as a tissue biopsy may no longer be representative of the current tumor. He adds that liquid biopsies should also be used if a re-biopsy is determined to be infeasible or not in the best interest of the patient.

Researchers also believe that liquid biopsies can provide a more precise snapshot of a patient’s tumor histology because certain alterations can only be picked up in the plasma. There are several ongoing trials looking to confirm the clinical utility of this procedure.
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John Strickler, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, gastrointestinal oncologist, Duke Cancer Institute, discusses applications for liquid biopsies in gastrointestinal (GI) cancer.

Currently, tissue biopsies are still the standard in routine clinical practice, but liquid biopsies are being used in select circumstances to help guide treatments for patients. Sometimes, Strickler says, there is simply not enough tissue in a patient’s tumor to perform an effective biopsy. Then, a liquid biopsy would be used. If a patient’s tumor biology is thought to have evolved over some period of time, the best choice would be to use a liquid biopsy, as a tissue biopsy may no longer be representative of the current tumor. He adds that liquid biopsies should also be used if a re-biopsy is determined to be infeasible or not in the best interest of the patient.

Researchers also believe that liquid biopsies can provide a more precise snapshot of a patient’s tumor histology because certain alterations can only be picked up in the plasma. There are several ongoing trials looking to confirm the clinical utility of this procedure.

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