Liquid biopsies : the future of cancer early detection

Connal, Siobhan and Cameron, James M. and Sala, Alexandra and Brennan, Paul M. and Palmer, David S. and Palmer, Joshua D. and Perlow, Haley and Baker, Matthew J. (2023) Liquid biopsies : the future of cancer early detection. Journal of Translational Medicine, 21 (1). 118. ISSN 1479-5876 (

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Cancer is a worldwide pandemic. The burden it imposes grows steadily on a global scale causing emotional, physical, and financial strains on individuals, families, and health care systems. Despite being the second leading cause of death worldwide, many cancers do not have screening programs and many people with a high risk of developing cancer fail to follow the advised medical screening regime due to the nature of the available screening tests and other challenges with compliance. Moreover, many liquid biopsy strategies being developed for early detection of cancer lack the sensitivity required to detect early-stage cancers. Early detection is key for improved quality of life, survival, and to reduce the financial burden of cancer treatments which are greater at later stage detection. This review examines the current liquid biopsy market, focusing in particular on the strengths and drawbacks of techniques in achieving early cancer detection. We explore the clinical utility of liquid biopsy technologies for the earlier detection of solid cancers, with a focus on how a combination of various spectroscopic and -omic methodologies may pave the way for more efficient cancer diagnostics.