Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Most cancers are difficult to cure due to imprecise diagnostics primarily based on solid tissue biopsies and ineffective treatment strategies. Tissue biopsies are painful, time consuming, and expensive. Most importantly, tumor heterogeneity limits the efficacy of tissue based diagnostics. Furthermore, the currently used clinic pathological features have limited power in identifying patients that may benefit from systemic therapy or are at risk for relapse. Novel diagnostic tests selecting patients that will benefit from such treatment strategies are urgently needed. To overcome these challenges, blood based liquid biopsies are in the focus of our research.
Blood-based liquid biopsies are cancer byproducts (mainly circulating tumor cells (CTC), circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), and tumor exosomes), easily accessible in blood. Recent studies reported that tumor-educated blood platelets (TEPs) are also used for screening, classification and characterization of cancer patients.