What Foods are Recommended for Cancer?
is a very common question. Personalized Nutrition Plans are foods and supplements which are personalized to a cancer indication, genes, any treatments and lifestyle conditions.

Utility of Liquid Biopsy for a Cancer Patient

Aug 13, 2021

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Home » Blogs » Utility of Liquid Biopsy for a Cancer Patient


Liquid biopsy is the test that isolates and analyzes circulating tumor DNA from blood or urine samples through sequencing, and can provide information on potentially actionable genetic mutations and aberrations linked to the cancer. While this technique has benefits for easy monitoring of the disease, it has the potential for false positives and currently lacks standardization in sample collection and analysis.

When a person is diagnosed with cancer, one of the tests is a tissue biopsy for solid tumors and bone marrow biopsy for blood cancers, both invasive procedures that could be done via a needle, endoscopy or surgery, and in some that may not even be possible if the location of the tumor is inaccessible. The results of examining the cells from these biopsies provides details on the type, stage and prognosis of the cancer. In more recent times and with advancing technologies, scientists have been able to detect circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in blood, urine and saliva samples. A liquid biopsy is therefore sampling of a patients’ blood or other easily and non-invasively accessible samples for diagnostic, prognostic and monitoring purposes.

Utility of Liquid Biopsy for a Cancer Patient

Liquid biopsy is based on the premise that the rapidly growing cancer cells in the body release their DNA into the blood. There are techniques to identify and extract the minuscule amounts of ctDNA from the high background of normal circulating DNA in the blood or urine. Probing and analyzing this ctDNA through various assays including sequencing, can provide information about the genetic characteristics of the tumor. Identification of genetic modifications such as cancer related gene mutations, other chromosomal changes such as amplifications, deletions, inversions, translocations of segments impacting cancer genes, gives insight into the molecular characteristics of the cancer – valuable and potentially actionable information for personalization of type and course of treatment (Elazezy and Joosse, Comput Struct Biotechnol J., 2018).

Foods to Eat After Cancer Diagnosis!

No two cancers are the same. Go beyond the common nutrition guidelines for everyone and make personalized decisions about food and supplements with confidence.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Liquid Biopsy?

Advantages of liquid biopsy in Cancer

Listed below are some of the key advantages of doing liquid biopsy in cancer.

  • Can be done on samples such as blood that are easily accessible and routinely used for laboratory tests. It is not dependent on painful, invasive and expensive procedures as needed for tissue or bone marrow biopsy.
  • Allows monitoring of response to treatment by assessing the levels of the ctDNA.
  • Allows monitoring of recurrence of disease by doing periodic analysis of levels and characteristics of ctDNA once the patient has completed treatment and is in remission. This monitoring is also called assessment of minimal residual disease (MRD).
  • For metastatic or progressive disease, the monitoring via liquid biopsy of the ctDNA will give insight into how the tumor has evolved from its primary characteristics and can help with change in treatment strategies to treat the evolving and aggressive cancer.

Nutrition for BRCA2 Genetic Risk of Breast Cancer | Get Personalized Nutrition Solutions

Disadvantages of liquid biopsy

Some of the disadvantages of liquid biopsy include:

  • The circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) concentration can be extremely low in a high background of normal circulating DNA and therefore the liquid biopsy approach can miss detection and therefore report false negative results.
  • With the techniques used for liquid biopsy where minuscule amounts of ctDNA are amplified for analysis, the possibility of errors and artifacts resulting in false positive results is high.
  • Liquid biopsy techniques and workflows today lack standardization in sample collection and sample analysis.
  • Due to differing amounts of sample between tissue biopsy and liquid biopsy, they may provide non-overlapping and different information for the same individual which may confound the treatment choices.

A study by a British Columbia group found that ctDNA provided additional useful information to a prostate biopsy in men newly diagnosed with metastatic castration sensitive prostate cancer, and they also confirmed that there was an 80% overlap in mutations between ctDNA and prostate tissue biopsy. The optimal approach as per their study suggested the use of both the tissue and liquid biopsy as neither approach by itself captured all the genetic details in all patients (Vandekerkhove G, et al, Eur Urol, 2019). Another study from MD Anderson, Texas, also highlighted the utility of liquid biopsy and ctDNA analysis in pancreatic cancer (Bernard V, et al, Gastroenterol., 2019). In summary, liquid biopsy has the potential to provide useful information during different stages of cancer treatment and for monitoring during and after treatment phases.

For the cancer patients interested in pursuing liquid biopsy test, there are many companies established in this field. The liquid biopsy tests vary based on the cancer type and list of genes covered, the depth of sequencing coverage of the genes and the sensitivity and specificity of the assays. In the US, companies such as Guardant Health, Foundation Medicine, Genomic Health and many others offer different liquid biopsy tests. Multiple companies in India also do liquid biopsy tests including MedGenome, Dr Lal Path Labs, Strand Life Sciences, Datar Cancer Genetics, Redcliffe Life Sciences and others. Liquid biopsy tests are mostly out of pocket expenses for the patient that are not covered by their health insurance.

What food you eat and which supplements you take is a decision you make. Your decision should include consideration of the cancer gene mutations, which cancer, ongoing treatments and supplements, any allergies, lifestyle information, weight, height and habits.

The nutrition planning for cancer from addon is not based on internet searches. It automates the decision making for you based on molecular science implemented by our scientists and software engineers. Irrespective of whether you care to understand the underlying biochemical molecular pathways or not - for nutrition planning for cancer that understanding is needed.

Get started NOW with your nutrition planning by answering questions on the name of cancer, genetic mutations, ongoing treatments and supplements, any allergies, habits, lifestyle, age group and gender.


Personalized Nutrition for Cancer!

Cancer changes with time. Customize and modify your nutrition based on cancer indication, treatments, lifestyle, food preferences, allergies and other factors.

Cancer patients often have to deal with different chemotherapy side effects which affect their quality of life and look out for alternative therapies for cancer.Taking the right nutrition and supplements based on scientific considerations (avoiding guesswork and random selection) is the best natural remedy for cancer and treatment related side-effects.

Scientifically Reviewed by: Dr. Cogle

Christopher R. Cogle, M.D. is a tenured professor at the University of Florida, Chief Medical Officer of Florida Medicaid, and Director of the Florida Health Policy Leadership Academy at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.

You can also read this in

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.4 / 5. Vote count: 42

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?