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Current Hepatology Reports

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 390–399 | Cite as

Liquid Biopsy for Hepatocellular Carcinoma

  • Vincent L. ChenEmail author
  • Neehar D. Parikh
Hepatic Cancer (N Parikh, Section Editor)
  • 21 Downloads
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Hepatic Cancer

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Clinically available biomarkers for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) early diagnosis and prognostication have limited utility. Further lack of routine biopsy in hepatocellular carcinoma limits the availability of molecular information to guide drug development. Recent studies investigating liquid biopsy using circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and cell-free deoxyribonucleic acid (cfDNA) have yielded promising data that could address both of these limitations.

Recent Findings

For early HCC diagnosis, CTCs have modest sensitivity but high specificity. CfDNA methylation scores have shown high sensitivity and specificity in two large phase II studies. Presence of CTCs has been associated with poorer prognosis in numerous studies, particularly increased cancer recurrence following curative therapy, while the literature on cfDNA and prognosis is less robust.

Summary

Liquid biopsy using CTCs and cfDNA has shown promise in prognostication and early diagnosis in HCC. Further robust validation of this liquid biopsy is required for routine clinical use.

Keywords

Circulating tumor cell Cell-free DNA Early diagnosis Biomarker 

Abbreviations

AFP

Alpha-fetoprotein

cfDNA

Cell-free deoxyribonucleic acid

CTC

Circulating tumor cell

EMT

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition

HCC

Hepatocellular carcinomas

Notes

Author Contributions

Vincent Chen: drafting of the manuscript

Neehar Parikh: critical review of manuscript

All authors identified above have critically reviewed the paper and approve the final version of this paper, including the authorship statement.

Funding Information

Vincent Chen was supported in part by a University of Michigan Training in Basic and Translational Digestive Sciences T32 grant (5T32DK094775).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Vincent Chen declares no potential conflicts of interest.

Neehar Parikh: Consultant: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Exelixis, Freenome; Advisory Board: Eisai, Bayer, Exelixis, Wako Diagnostics; Research Grants: Bayer, Target Pharmasolutions, Exact Sciences.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

References

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of Michigan Medical SchoolAnn ArborUSA

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