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The pitfalls and promise of liquid biopsies for diagnosing and treating solid tumors in children: a review

Authors

  • R. Van Paemel
  • R. Vlug
  • K. De Preter
  • N. Van Roy
  • F. Speleman
  • L. Willems
  • T. Lammens
  • G. Laureys
  • G. Schleiermacher
  • G.A.M. Tytgat
  • K. Astrahantseff
  • H. Deubzer
  • B. De Wilde

Journal

  • European Journal of Pediatrics

Citation

  • Eur J Pediatr 179: 191-202

Abstract

  • Cell-free DNA profiling using patient blood is emerging as a non-invasive complementary technique for cancer genomic characterization. Since these liquid biopsies will soon be integrated into clinical trial protocols for pediatric cancer treatment, clinicians should be informed about potential applications and advantages but also weaknesses and potential pitfalls. Small retrospective studies comparing genetic alterations detected in liquid biopsies with tumor biopsies for pediatric solid tumor types are encouraging. Molecular detection of tumor markers in cell-free DNA could be used for earlier therapy response monitoring and residual disease detection as well as enabling detection of pathognomonic and therapeutically relevant genomic alterations. CONCLUSION: Existing analyses of liquid biopsies from children with solid tumors increasingly suggest a potential relevance for molecular diagnostics, prognostic assessment, and therapeutic decision-making. Gaps remain in the types of tumors studied and value of detection methods applied. Here we review the current stand of liquid biopsy studies for pediatric solid tumors with a dedicated focus on cell-free DNA analysis. There is legitimate hope that integrating fully validated liquid biopsy-based innovations into the standard of care will advance patient monitoring and personalized treatment of children battling solid cancers.


DOI

doi:10.1007/s00431-019-03545-y