Role of liquid biopsy in oncogene-addicted non-small cell lung cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The discovery of actionable oncogene in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) allowed the identification of a subgroup of patients who benefit from targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors more than others. Mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), translocations in the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) and rearrangements in the ROS proto-oncogene 1 (ROS1) must be identified in tumor tissue to guide the proper treatment choice. Liquid biopsy is based on the analysis of tumor materials released in the circulation. Liquid biopsy can be complementary to tissue biopsy, both at baseline and at progression, especially in the detection of somatic gene alterations emerging during the treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Particularly, circulating DNA is used to find mutations in driver oncogenes, while circulating tumor cells, extracellular vesicles (EVs) and cell-free microRNAs (cfmiRNAs) are still under investigation. To help the unbiased use of liquid biopsy in the choice of the appropriate therapy, some recommendations were delivered by expert panels. Currently, analysis of EGFR mutations in cell-free DNA (cfDNA) is recommended at baseline when tissue biopsy harbors scarce tumor cells, and at progression before performing tissue biopsy; liquid biopsy analysis for other oncogenic drivers is not indicated in the clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S265-S279
JournalTranslational Lung Cancer Research
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Liquid biopsy
  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
  • Oncogene
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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