Health economic impact of liquid biopsies in cancer management.
- Competence Center for Methodology and Statistics
INTRODUCTION: Liquid biopsies (LBs) are referred to as the sampling and analysis of non-solid tissue, primarily blood, as a diagnostic and monitoring tool for cancer. Because LBs are largely non-invasive, they are a less-costly alternative for serial analysis of tumor progression and heterogeneity to facilitate clinical management. Although a variety of tumor markers are proposed (e.g., free-circulating DNA), the clinical evidence for Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) is currently the most developed. Areas covered: This paper presents a health economic perspective of LBs in cancer management. We first briefly introduce the requirements in biomarker development and validation, illustrated for CTCs. Second, we discuss the state-of-art on the clinical utility of LBs in breast cancer in more detail. We conclude with a future perspective on the clinical use and reimbursement of LBs Expert commentary: A significant increase in clinical research on LBs can be observed and the results suggest a rapid change of cancer management. In addition to studies evaluating clinical utility of LBs, a smooth translation into clinical practice requires systematic assessment of the health economic benefits. This paper argues that (early stage) health economic research is required to facilitate its clinical use and to prioritize further evidence development.