Liquid Biopsy in Oncology: Opportunities and Challenges

Life Sciences, Clinical Trials, Laboratory Technology,
  • Thursday, September 08, 2022

A liquid biopsy is a simple and non-invasive alternative to surgical biopsies. It has the potential to identify genetic abnormalities that may guide treatment selection as well as detect disease progression or treatment resistance long before it would trigger clinical symptoms or appear on imaging scans. Liquid biopsies consist of isolating tumor-derived entities like circulating tumor cells (CTC), circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), tumor extracellular vesicles (EV), etc., present in the body fluids of patients and using them to derive genomic and proteomic data. This reveals greater details about tumor characteristics such as tumor progression, tumor staging, heterogeneity, gene mutations and clonal evolution.

Technological innovation in liquid biopsy platforms and testing methodologies led to a rapid transformation of precision medicine in cancer care. As a result, several liquid biopsy tests have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In 2013, the FDA approved CellSearchCTC enumeration platform, which detects CTC in blood. In 2016, the FDA approved the first ctDNA blood test to detect epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene mutations in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In 2020, the FDA approved two additional comprehensive genomic profiling liquid biopsy tests, Guardant360 CDx and FoundationOne Liquid CDx, both of which utilize next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology to detect tumor genomic alterations in cell-free ctDNA in blood.

Although liquid biopsy is expected to complement and not replace tissue biopsy in the foreseeable future, its non-invasive nature promises to open new eras in clinical oncology. It has the potential to change the prognostic and predictive landscape for cancer genotyping and impact patient management. However, several technical and biological limitations still hamper the implementation of liquid biopsy in clinical practice.

The purpose of this webinar is to provide an overview of the current methodologies involved in liquid biopsies and their application for detection of genetic mutations. Register to learn how liquid biopsies may help with treatment selection and monitoring of cancer treatment outcomes.


El Mustapha Bahassi, Medpace

El Mustapha Bahassi, PhD, Director, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Medpace

Dr. El Mustapha Bahassi is a Research Scientist with over 20 years of clinical and research laboratory experience. He is experienced in biomarker development and well-versed in various molecular biology techniques such as DNA cloning, PCR, protein purification, mass spectrometry, flow cytometry, mouse modeling, mammalian/bacterial cell culturing and cell-free DNA/circulating tumor cells manipulation. He received his PhD in molecular biology and biotechnology from the University of Brussels in Belgium. He then joined the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas as a postdoctoral fellow in molecular oncology. Following his training at UT Southwestern, Dr. Bahassi moved to the department of cancer biology at the University of Cincinnati and later became a faculty member in the division of hematology/oncology. As an independent faculty, Dr. Bahassi developed a translational line of research where he worked closely with clinical oncologists to develop new companion diagnostics using cutting-edge genomic technologies.

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Lyon L. Gleich, Medpace

Lyon L. Gleich, MD, FACS, Senior Vice President, Medical Department, Medpace

Dr. Lyon Gleich has been directing Medpace’s oncology program since 2004. Dr. Gleich has served as a Medical Monitor on multiple oncology studies at Medpace. He is responsible for the development of study-specific training materials as well as the ongoing training for the clinical operations group. Dr. Gleich’s established relationships with key centers and Investigators worldwide provide guidance to the clinical team that is instrumental to the success of study start-up. Dr. Gleich spent more than 10 years as an academic investigator, during which he became a recognized expert in new molecular therapeutics. Dr. Gleich remains active in academia through multiple societal memberships and editorialships, including ASCO and ASH and recently serving on the editorial board of Cancer.

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Christopher Huth, Medpace

Christopher Huth, PhD, Senior Clinical Trial Manager, Clinical Trial Management, Medpace

Dr. Huth has nearly 10 years of clinical oncology operations management and monitoring experience at Medpace. His experience includes the management of large-scale, global studies as well as management of FIH-targeted agent trials. Dr. Huth has managed trials in precision oncology, including trials targeting genetic alterations in NSCLC and other solid tumors; Phase 1-3 solid tumor studies; hematologic oncology studies including patient populations in non-Hodgkin lymphoma, acute myeloid leukemia, and blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm. As Dr. Huth has served as Global CTM on multiple Medpace targeted agent programs, his expertise has been used not only for the trials he manages directly but also as a resource at Medpace for developing processes and operational excellence in targeted agent studies. Dr. Huth holds a PhD in materials science engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Saint Louis University.

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Who Should Attend?

This webinar will appeal to VPs, directors, managers and department heads working within:

  • Clinical Affairs
  • Clinical Research
  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • Clinical Outsourcing
  • Project Management
  • Regulatory Affairs
  • Medical Affairs

What You Will Learn

Topics will include:

  • Overview of liquid biopsy analyte
  • Comparison of liquid biopsy and tumor biopsy
  • Key considerations for future treatment selection and monitoring

Xtalks Partner


Medpace is a scientifically-driven, global, full-service clinical contract research organization (CRO) providing Phase I-IV clinical development services to the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device industries. Medpace’s mission is to accelerate the global development of safe and effective medical therapeutics through its high-science and disciplined operating approach that leverages local regulatory and deep therapeutic expertise across all major areas including oncology, cardiology, metabolic disease, endocrinology, central nervous system and anti-viral and anti-infective.

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