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At Fluxion, we’re passionate about delivering cell-based and cell-free solutions that facilitate the transformation of research discoveries into new ways to diagnose and treat patients. By characterizing molecular and cellular mechanisms of disease, Fluxion’s platforms help bridge the translational medicine gap, enabling rapid advances in disease research, drug discovery, and the development of diagnostic tests.

2 min read

Liquid Biopsy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a liquid biopsy?

A liquid biopsy is a blood test that analyzes cancer cells (CTCs) or fragments of cancer DNA (termed cfDNA or ctDNA) that are circulating in the blood. These non-invasive samples serve as a surrogate for traditional tissues biopsies. 

 

What are the main advantages of liquid biopsies?

The main benefit is the ease of obtaining the sample. A minimally-invasive blood draw is much easier, safer, and less expensive than a core or needle biopsy. 

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What type of cancers can a liquid biopsy be used for?

Liquid biopsies are available or in development for most cancer types, including carcinoma and melanoma. 

 

When are liquid biopsies used?

Liquid biopsies are used at diagnosis, for treatment selection, and for patient monitoring. There are also many efforts underway to use liquid biopsies as an initial cancer screening test for early detection. 

 

Are liquid biopsies as sensitive as traditional biopsies?

Tests comparing liquid biopsy results to traditional biopsies, called concordance studies, have shown very good, although not perfect, agreement between the two tests. Potential causes for the differences are currently under investigation, and both tests have pros and cons as far as performance. 

 

Are liquid biopsies as sensitive as traditional biopsies?

Tests comparing liquid biopsy results to traditional biopsies, called concordance studies, have shown very good, although not perfect, agreement between the two tests. Potential causes for the differences are currently under investigation, and both tests have pros and cons as far as performance. 

 

Can liquid biopsies replace traditional biopsies?

The current standard of care guidelines recommend traditional biopsies when they can be performed safely, and liquid biopsies are seeing a steadily-increasing role in metastatic cancer treatment selection, patient monitoring, and recurrence testing. As more data demonstrate that liquid biopsies have similar performance at lower cost and with fewer complications, liquid biopsies may replace traditional biopsies. 

What kind of markers can liquid biopsies detect?

Liquid biopsies can be used to detect the same marker classes as traditional biopsy tissue, including DNA variants, RNA variants, and protein markers. The exact marker classes may be limited by the test analyte (for example, cfDNA samples can only be used to identify DNA variants).

What technologies are used for detection?

The detection methods vary depending on the markers being investigated. Examples include imagers for CTC testing, next-generation sequencing for broad marker detection of DNA, and high-sensitivity PCR techniques when a small set of DNA or RNA markers are being tested. 

What liquid biopsy technologies does Fluxion offer?

Fluxion offers technologies for both CTC and cfDNA liquid biopsies. Our IsoFlux CTC Liquid Biopsy System is used globally for CTC isolation and testing from blood samples. CTCs have the advantage of allowing all marker classes (DNA, RNA, proteins) to be identified. Fluxion’s ERASE-Seq sequencing technology and Spotlight NGS Liquid Biopsy Panels deliver ultra-sensitive mutation detection from cfDNA.