R. Steven Paulson, MD, discusses the utility of liquid biopsies versus tissue biopsies.
R. Steven Paulson, MD, physician, Texas Oncology, discusses the utility of liquid biopsies versus tissue biopsies.
Although tissue biopsy remains the gold standard in oncology, there may not be enough available tissue to perform a biopsy, explains Paulson. In these cases, a patient may need to undergo an invasive procedure to retrieve more tissue for testing.
Alternatively, a liquid biopsy may alleviate the need for an invasive procedure since it only requires a blood draw, says Paulson. A positive result with a liquid biopsy is relatively reliable; however, a negative test result should not be considered definitive.
Additionally, the turn-around time for a liquid biopsy is faster than a tissue biopsy. Therefore, if a liquid biopsy is positive, patients can begin targeted therapy earlier. However, the interpretation of liquid biopsies requires some standardization, concludes Paulson.