Liquid Biopsy and Therapeutic Targets: Present and Future Issues in Thoracic Oncology.

The practice of liquid biopsy (LB) has revolutionized the care of patients with metastatic lung cancer. Many oncologists now use this approach in daily practice, applying precise procedures for the detection of activating or resistance mutations in EGFR. These tests are performed with plasma DNA and have been approved as companion diagnostic test for patients treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors. ALK is another important target in lung cancer since it leads to treatment of patients who are positive for a rearrangement in ALK identified with tumor tissue. By analogy with EGFR, LB for detection of genomic alterations in ALK (rearrangements or mutations) has been rapidly adopted in the clinic. However, this promising approach has some limitations and has not yet been disseminated as much as the blood test targeting EGFR. In addition to these two therapeutic targets LB can be used for evaluation of the genomic status of other genes of interest of patients with lung cancer (ROS1, RET, NTRK MET, BRAF, HER2, etc.). LB can be performed to evaluate a specific target or for a more or less complex panel of genes. Considering the number of potential targets for clinical trials, techniques of next-generation sequencing of circulating DNA are on the rise. This review will provide an update on the contribution of LB to care of patients with metastatic lung cancer, including the present limits of this approach, and will consider certain perspectives.

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