Liquid Biopsy – A more reliable alternative for cancer detection

During a recent trial conducted on 100 lung cancer patients, scientists noted a significant rise in tumor DNA in the blood of patients who would go on to relapse months or even a year later. The test, known as liquid biopsy could provide information on the existence of cancer long before the cancer becomes detectable by CT scans or shows physical symptoms. This buys doctors crucial time for treatment and improves the chances of survival by a huge margin. Liquid Biopsy has been shortlisted as one of the five technologies that will disrupt healthcare by 2020 along with AI, CRISPR, 3D printing, and immunotherapies.

The process works by detecting free-floating mutated DNA that is in the bloodstream after being released by dying cancer cells. The technology is already being used as a non-invasive prenatal test for Down’s syndrome and findings show it will have a major impact in cancer medicine. The trial was conducted on 100 patients with non-small cell lung cancer, whose blood samples were collected and tested during every 6-8 weeks after their surgeries or chemotherapy treatments. Of those 100, the tests of 24 patients were analyzed in detail and the scientists were able to predict with 92% accuracy in which patients the cancer would relapse.

Liquid Biopsy could also be a successful tool to detect breast cancer. Mammograms are currently the standard for detection of breast cancer but the high rates of false positives and negative results from imaging devices can significantly impact patient care. Liquid biopsy also has the power to give some patients a definitive diagnosis and potentially avoid unnecessary treatments or other tests and requires only a small blood sample to do so.

Currently the Liquid Biopsy technologies that are commonly used are the Circulating Tumor Cell(CTC), Circulating Tumor DNA (CTDNA), RNA in exosomes, and extracellular Vesicles methods with CTC method having the largest share in the market. The increase in prevalence of cancer and the inability of imaging technologies to detect cancer before it becomes too fatal to treat is driving the market to grow. More research grants and trials are being conducted to modify this technology for use in detection of different types of cancers. Apart from non-small cell lung cancer and breast cancer, the FDA has also approved the tests for colorectal and prostate cancer and encourages research for all other kinds of cancer as well, especially where tissue biopsy tests are not possible.

They key players in this market include Janssen Diagnostics, Rarecells SAS, Myriad Genetics, Trovagene, and HansaBiomed OU. Other companies like StrandLife Sciences also have high potential to grow in this market. They have recently launched their Liquid Biopsy test portfolio STRAND LB, an outcome of the collaboration between STRAND and the Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center for Translational Research who worked together to develop these tests.

The Liquid Biopsy market is growing at a CAGR of 24.3% and reach USD 1.75 Billion by 2021 by Market Data Forecast’s estimate. Currently the market is being dominated by North America and Europe from where we expect most of the significant developments in the field that will change the face of modern medicine and turn the tide on our fight against cancer.

For updates on the developments and breakthroughs in the field of Healthcare, follow our twitter feed @MDFinsights. To view our list of research reports visit us at

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