Extending the liquid biopsy concept to brain tumor diagnosis

© Patrick Reinig
Using technologies such as single-cell analysis, researchers are developing strategies to extend the liquid biopsy concept to the analysis of cerebrospinal fluid for brain tumor diagnosis.

Primary and secondary tumors of the central nervous system (CNS) continue to be associated with an unfavorable prognosis. Among other reasons, this is also due to the fact that taking tissue biopsies of inoperable tumors and tumor relapses poses considerable risks for patients because of the tumor location in the CNS. Researchers of the Regensburg-based Fraunhofer ITEM Division of Personalized Tumor Therapy have joined forces with physicians of the study groups “Primary and secondary malignant brain tumors” and “CNS tumors in children and adolescents” of the Bavarian Cancer Research Center (BZKF) to improve the situation for patients by means of new approaches to analyzing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).


Using technologies that were originally developed for analyzing circulating tumor cells (CTC) and cell-free nucleic acids in blood, the partners are collaborating on strategies to extend the liquid biopsy concept to the analysis of CSF to facilitate the diagnosis of brain tumors. In addition to methods for the detection of single tumor cells and genetic analyses of DNA and RNA, a special focus is on the development of preanalytical standards. Through this research, a framework has been established that allows this innovative approach to be used in multicenter clinical trials.


Bernhard Michael Polzer

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Priv.-Doz. Dr. Bernhard Michael Polzer

Manager of the Working Group on Cellular and Molecular Diagnostics