A biopsy is a process to detect cancer cells. This will help them to get a confirmed report. But in this test, there is a revolutionary change that came in medical science that is termed Liquid Biopsy. In this process fine needle FNAC is performed or the piece of tumor samples are collected for lab tests. In this process, the cancer cells that are circulating in the blood are the cancer DNA. This DNA can be termed ctDNA. This is nothing but a fragmented piece of tumor DNA that will help them to determine the cell's behavior or DNA genetic code. Sometimes circulating tumor cells may travel in bloodstreams which are collected for testing. These circulating cells can be termed as CTCs. These CTCs and ctDNA will help them to provide a trace of a cancer cell or tumor which will give a piece of genetic information regarding cancer tumor.
Difference between biopsy and liquid biopsy is, in a normal biopsy, doctors will cut down the tissue from the tumor to test the sample in the lab to detect whether it is cancerous or not. This is the most well-known process in medical science and it is sometimes called the "gold standard". But in liquid biopsy, they will get lots of new information regarding their cancer cell which help in the treatment of advanced stage of cancer or metastatic cancer. In the spreading or metastasis some of the tumor cells break up and float in the bloodstream, and travel to different parts of the body. To determine these cells, liquid biopsies are performed.
Liquid biopsy works differently than normal biopsy. In this process, blood samples are collected for testing in the lab with the help of machinery to separate plasma from blood cells. The pathologists find CTCs and ctDNA in that plasma for the analysis of fluid and tissue samples that are collected from their patient. In this whole process, it is not uncomfortable or painful for the patient as like normal biopsy. They may feel the sting or prick when a needle is inserted for sample collection. In future, liquid biopsy may take a place of a major portion of all biopsies.