Research Topic

Ultra-Sensitive Detection of Cancer: Methodology, Mechanism, and Applications

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Cancers always start small: a sizable primary tumor containing billions of cancer cells evolves from a few precursor cells. Metastatic tumors are grown from disseminated cancer cells that left the primary tumor and seeded at distant sites. Detecting these rare but important events is termed ultra-sensitive ...

Cancers always start small: a sizable primary tumor containing billions of cancer cells evolves from a few precursor cells. Metastatic tumors are grown from disseminated cancer cells that left the primary tumor and seeded at distant sites. Detecting these rare but important events is termed ultra-sensitive detection of cancer (UDC), a process that identifies extremely low levels of cancer-related signals from a non-neoplastic background. Recent advances in UDC technologies, such as liquid biopsy of circulating tumor cells or circulating cell-free DNA have shown great promises in cancer early detection, treatment monitoring and residual tumor detection. Nevertheless, UDC faces many challenges that have been attributed to two general areas:

1) The extremely low relative-abundance of cancer-related signal, which requires specialized experimental methods as well as computational algorithms to achieve high sensitivity/specificity;
2) The complexity of the biological system, as affected by many factors including cancer type, tumor stage, and the sample collection method.

As more data emerge, new questions arise over the clinical validity and utility of UDC. Addressing these questions requires fundamental research from various aspects to provide a comprehensive understanding of all the variables affecting the performance of UDC.

The current Research Topic is dedicated to Original Research articles as well as Review articles focusing on the methodology, mechanism, or application of UDC including liquid biopsy.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

• Novel experimental methods to improve the performance of UDC;
• Novel computational algorithms to analyze data collected in UDC studies;
• Clinical applications of liquid biopsy or other UDC-enabling techniques in cancer early detection, treatment monitoring, or residual disease detection;
• Mechanism about oncogenesis and tumor progression that provides insights into the biological or technical factors that may affect the performance of UDC;
•Selection of methodologies, such as molecular barcodes or duplex sequencing, based on sample type; and
• Any other novel applications of UDC with potential clinical utility.

Please note that abstract submission is NOT mandatory.


Keywords: Cancer, Early detection, Residual disease, Liquid biopsy, Bioinformatics


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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