Review Article

Circulating tumor cells versus circulating tumor DNA in lung cancer—which one will win?

Silvia Calabuig-Fariñas, Eloísa Jantus-Lewintre, Alejandro Herreros-Pomares, Carlos Camps


Liquid biopsies appear to be a reliable alternative to conventional biopsies that can provide both precise molecular data useful for improving the clinical management of lung cancer patients as well as a less invasive way of monitoring tumor behavior. These advances are supported by important biotechnological developments in the fields of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). Analysis of CTCs and ctDNA may be useful in treatment selection, for response monitoring, and in studying resistance mechanisms. This review focuses on the most recent technological achievements and the most relevant clinical applications for lung cancer patients in the CTC and ctDNA fields, highlighting those that are already (or are close to) being implemented in daily clinical practice.