Circulating DNA-Important Biomarker of Cancer
Circulating extracellular nucleic acids, especially DNA, was discovered more than sixty years ago, but it is becoming hot just in the last two decades because it is now widely recognized as a very promising biomarker for the early diagnosis, monitoring, and evaluation of prognosis of cancer. In addition, compared with traditional surgical approaches and other biochemical tests, circulating DNA as a biomarker, owns many obvious advantages. It is easily accessible, reliable, reproducible and early detectable in cancer. It is also very sensitive and specific if cancer specific DNA alterations are tested instead of elevation of circulating DNA concentration. But the clinical application of this biomarker is still just limited to obstetrics and prenatal diagnosis. This review throws light on its history, current research update and potential clinical application in cancer diagnosis and management. In addition, major detection technologies of circulating DNA are summarized concisely and comprehensively.