Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Disease Markers
Volume 2016, Article ID 1427849, 11 pages
Review Article

Liquid Biopsy of Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Circulating Tumor-Derived Biomarkers

1Department of Laboratory Medicine and Center for Gene Diagnosis, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, No. 169 Donghu Road, Wuchang District, Wuhan 430071, China
2Department of Immunology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Wuhan University, No. 185 Donghu Road, Wuchang District, Wuhan 430071, China

Received 16 March 2016; Revised 6 May 2016; Accepted 15 May 2016

Academic Editor: Michele Malaguarnera

Copyright © 2016 Chang-Qing Yin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide due to latent liver disease, late diagnosis, and nonresponse to systemic treatments. Till now, surgical and/or biopsy specimens are still generally used as a gold standard by the clinicians for clinical decision-making. However, apart from their invasive characteristics, tumor biopsy only mirrors a single spot of the tumor, failing to reflect current cancer dynamics and progression. Therefore, it is imperative to develop new diagnostic strategies with significant effectiveness and reliability to monitor high-risk populations and detect HCC at an early stage. In the past decade, the potent utilities of “liquid biopsy” have attracted intense concern and were developed to evaluate cancer progression in several clinical trials. “Liquid biopsies” represent a series of noninvasive tests that detect cancer byproducts easily accessible in peripheral blood, mainly including circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and cell-free nucleic acids (cfNAs) that are shed into the blood from the tumor sites. In this review, we focus on the recent developments in the field of “liquid biopsy” as well as the diagnostic and prognostic significance of CTCs and cfNAs in HCC patients.