Wafik El-Deiry, MD, PhD, FACP, deputy cancer center director, Translational Research Program, co-leader, Molecular Therapeutics Program, professor, Department Hematology/Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, discusses the advantages of liquid biopsies over tissue biopsies. This was a hot debate at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting.
El-Deiry says that liquid biopsies do a better job of capturing the signature of any part of a tumor throughout the body. By their nature, liquid biopsies can easily detect tumor heterogeneity, which is something that a tissue biopsy cannot do for one specific part of the body. A common argument, El-Deiry adds, is that liquid biopsies have not yet been clinically proven in terms of benefitting treatment of patients. While he says this will take years to do, El-Deiry believes liquid biopsies will eventually become part of routine clinical practice.
Liquid biopsies are most commonly used for detecting molecular mutations in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. (NSCLC).