Genetics & Genomics

Liquid Biopsy: A Tool for the Diagnostic and Prognostic Evaluation of Cancers

Joshua Stanciu

Joseph D. Tariman
liquid biopsy, genetic biomarkers, genomic data, precision medicine
CJON 2020, 24(1), 19-21. DOI: 10.1188/20.CJON.19-21

Liquid biopsy is defined as the process of obtaining material for pathologic examination and analysis from body fluids. Liquid biopsy has been intensively researched for its clinical application in patients with solid malignancies, including melanoma and colon, breast, and lung cancers. This will become a standard and routine tool for the diagnostic and prognostic evaluation of all cancer types. This article provides an overview of liquid biopsy, its uses in cancer management, and its implications for nursing practice.


  • Liquid biopsy’s utility in diagnostics and for prognostication of various cancers is growing rapidly, which calls for more educational efforts to meet patients’ information needs and clinicians’ knowledge gap on this topic.
  • Preliminary evidence has shown that liquid biopsies offer valid and reliable noninvasive alternatives to surgical tissue excision biopsies in some cancers.
  • Liquid biopsies provide genomic data that are needed for achieving the full potential of precision medicine; clinicians, patients, and research funders must collaborate in supporting large-scale validation studies to establish the reliability and validity of liquid biopsies for diagnostic and prognostic purposes.
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