Studies show that liquid biopsies are efficient in the detection of circulating cancer products. However, scientific community has not yet implemented this technology in routine clinical practice. Liquid biopsies are less invasive than traditional surgical ones because they rely on the detection of specific biomarkers in readily accessible body fluid samples. The clinical management of prostate cancer depends on the controversial blood serum biomarker PSA (prostate specific antigen). PSA tests have a low accuracy. In addition, a positive PSA result for prostate cancer needs a confirmation through a tissue biopsy. Thus, liquid biopsies are considered tools to find a surrogate biomarker. This review aimed to show the landscape of liquid biopsies in prostate cancer research to understand its challenges and foresee the trends in this area. We performed an exhaustive Pubmed search of articles reporting the study of liquid biopsies in prostate cancer with circulating tumor cells, cell-free nucleic acids and extracellular vesicles as targets. After a thorough analysis, we retrieved sixty-two relevant articles. Among the identified articles, the most used target and body fluid were circulating tumor cells and blood, respectively. Enumeration of circulating tumor cells was the most reported parameter, but it was often combined with other biomarkers. The most used methods for biomarker detection were those based on transcriptome analysis. Despite the vast literature about liquid biopsy in prostate cancer, most studies seem to be stuck on improving the yield of technologies. Consequently, they seem to test a limited number of samples. Larger cohorts could provide robust evidence to translate liquid biopsies of prostate cancer to the clinics.

American journal of cancer research. 2019 Jul 01*** epublish ***

Esther Campos-Fernández, Letícia S Barcelos, Aline Gomes de Souza, Luiz R Goulart, Vivian Alonso-Goulart

Laboratory of Nanobiotechnology, Institute of Biotechnology, Federal University of Uberlândia Uberlândia, MG, Brazil.