Review Article|Articles in Press

Liquid Biopsy Screening for Early Detection of Lung Cancer: Current State and Future Directions

Published:January 26, 2023DOI:


      Liquid biopsy (LB) is clinically utilized to detect minute amounts of genetic material or protein shed by cancer cells, most commonly cell free DNA (cfDNA), as a noninvasive precision oncology tool to assess genomic alterations to guide cancer therapy or to detect the persistence of tumor cells after therapy. LB is also being developed as a multi-cancer screening assay. The use of LB holds great promise as a tool to detect lung cancer early. Although lung cancer screening (LCS) with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) substantially reduces lung cancer mortality in high-risk individuals, the ability of current LCS guidelines to reduce the public health burden of advanced lung cancer through early detection has been limited. LB may be an important tool to improve early lung cancer detection among all populations at risk for lung cancer. In this systematic review, we summarize the test characteristics, including sensitivity and specificity of individual tests, as they pertain to the detection of lung cancer.  We also address critical questions in the use of liquid biopsy for early detection of lung cancer including: 1. How might liquid biopsy be used to detect lung cancer early; 2. How accurate is liquid biopsy in detecting lung cancer early; and 3. Does liquid biopsy perform as well in never and light-smokers compared with current and former smokers.


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