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    The possibility of complete recovery for a lung cancer patient depends on very early diagnosis, as it allows total surgical resection. Screening for this cancer in a high-risk population can be performed using a radiological approach, but this holds a certain number of limitations. Liquid biopsy could become an alternative and complementary screening approach to chest imaging for early diagnosis of lung cancer. Several circulating biomarkers indicative of lung cancer can be investigated in blood, such as circulating tumor cells, circulating free nucleic acids (RNA and DNA) and proteins. However, none of these biomarkers have yet been adopted in routine clinical practice and studies are ongoing to confirm or not the usefulness and practical interest in routine early diagnosis and screening for lung cancers. Several potential circulating biomarkers for the early detection of lung cancer exist. When coupled to thoracic imaging, these biomarkers must give diagnosis of a totally resectable lung cancer and potentially provide new recommendations for surveillance by imagery of high-risk populations without a detectable nodule. Optimization of the specificity and sensitivity of the detection methods as well as standardization of the techniques is essential before considering for daily practice a liquid biopsy as an early diagnostic tool, or possibly as a predictive test, of lung cancer.


    Paul Hofman. Liquid biopsy for early detection of lung cancer. Current opinion in oncology. 2017 Jan;29(1):73-78

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    PMID: 27906860

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