Molecular diagnostic approaches to cancer detection and monitoring can benefit from a multiple-template strategy that analyzes DNA from circulating tumor cells (ctcDNA) and circulating cell-free DNA (ccfDNA) in blood, as well as from tissue biopsies, according to a recent study published by scientists from Cynvenio Biosystems Inc, Westlake Village, Calif, and collaborators.1

Findings show that data gained through next-generation sequencing of ccfDNA and ctcDNA liquid biopsy templates differ from but complement each other, and should be used in combination. Analysis of each template enables the capture of different moments in a tumor’s evolution, providing additional information to that provided by genomic analysis from tissue biopsy. Moreover, the information gained from examining CTCs enables the identification of both relevant mutations and other biomarkers that can drive a particular cancer.

Tumor-derived samples from tissue biopsy, CTC populations, and ccfDNA represent different moments in cancer’s progression and may not derive from the same biological sources. Research suggests that ccfDNA samples genomic DNA fragments released from all tumor sites and may capture mutations not specifically associated with the disease, as well as disease-relevant ones.

In contrast, CTCs reflect the mobile subset of tumor cells in blood; they are clearly related to the disease process, and predict more aggressive as well as metastatic disease.

Paul Dempsey, Cynvenio.

Paul Dempsey, PhD, Cynvenio.

“The ability to analyze multiple templates, both in terms of sensitivity and biomarker definition, offers clinicians a potentially better way to diagnose and monitor cancer, as well as more informed evidence-based decision tools,” says Paul W. Dempsey, PhD, chief scientific officer at Cynvenio. “Cynvenio’s Concordia liquid biopsy NGS-based technology is unique in its ability to provide all of this information using a single blood draw.”


  1. Strauss W, Carter C, and Simmons J. Multitemplate analysis in metastatic breast cancer blood samples [abstract]. Presented at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting (New Orleans: April 16–20, 2016). Available at: