Lung cancer (LC), is the most common and lethal cancer worldwide. It affects both sexes and in its early stages is clinically silent, until it reaches a more advanced stage, when it becomes highly incurable. In order to improve the high mortality associated with LC there has been an urgent need for screening high risk patients by low dose CT scan (LDCT) for the early detection of small resectable malignant tumors. However, while highly sensitive to detect small lung nodules, LDCT is non-specific, resulting in a compelling need for a complementary diagnostic tool. For example, a non-invasive blood test or liquid biopsy, (LB), could prove quite useful to confirm a diagnosis of malignancy prior to definitive therapy. With the advent of LB becoming increasingly clinically accepted in the diagnosis and management of LC, there has been an explosion of publications highlighting new technologies for the isolation of and detection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and cell free tumor DNA (cfDNA). The enormous potential for LB to play an important role in the diagnosis and management of LC to obtain valuable diagnostic information via an approach that may yield equivalent information to a surgical biopsy, regarding the presence of cancer and its molecular landscape is described.
Part of the book: Pathology