Liquid biopsy in gastrointestinal stromal tumors: a novel approach
Nannini M, Astolfi A, Urbini M, Biasco G, Pantaleo MA.
The role of molecular analysis in the management of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) remains indisputable. To date, tumor tissue extracted from specimens obtained by surgical or biopsy procedures has been the only source of the tumor DNA required for the molecular and genomic assessment of cancer. However, tumor tissue sampling has several clinical limitations: for example, the invasiveness of these procedures precludes repeated sampling. Thus, it is possible to obtain only a static molecular picture of the disease, a picture that lacks the inter- and intra-metastatic molecular heterogeneity that characterizes most GIST. In contrast, circulating tumor DNA obtained from a patient's bloodstream, known as liquid biopsy, can theoretically overcome the limitations of tissue biopsies and provide the same molecular and genomic information. GIST are recognized as a paradigm of molecular biology among solid tumors. Although few but promising data on liquid biopsy in GIST have been accumulated to date, these tumors may provide the optimal field for application of this challenging approach.