New insights in non-small-cell lung cancer: circulating tumor cells and cell-free DNA
Lung cancer is the second most frequent tumor and the leading cause of death by cancer in both men and women. Increasing knowledge about the cancer genome and tumor environment has led to a new setting in which morphological and molecular characterization is needed to treat patients in the most personalized way in order to achieve better outcomes. Since tumor products can be detected in body fluids, the liquid biopsy, particularly, peripheral blood, has emerged as a new source for lung cancer biomarker’s analysis. A variety of tumor components can be used for this purpose. Among them, circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) should be especially considered. Different detection methods for both CTCs and ctDNA have been and are being developed to improve the sensitivity and specificity of these tests. This would lead to better characterization and would solve some clinical doubts at different disease evolution times, e.g., intratumoral or temporal heterogeneity, difficulty in the obtaining a tumor sample, etc., and would also avoid the side effects of very expensive and complicated tumor obtaining in-terventions. CTCs and ctDNA are useful in different lung cancer settings. Their value has been shown for the early diagnosis, prognosis, prediction of treatment efficacy, monitoring responses and early detection of lung cancer relapse. CTCs have still not been validated for use in clinical settings in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), while ctDNA has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medical Association (EMA), and the main clinical guidelines used for detect different epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations and the monitoring and treatment choice of mutated patients with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). This review, describes how ctDNA seem to be winning the race against CTCs from the laboratory bench to clinical practice due to easier obtaining methods, manipulation and its implementation into clinical practice.