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Call for papers - Applications of ctDNA and liquid biopsies in precision oncology

Guest Editors:
Claude Chelala, PhD, Queen Mary University of London, UK
Pasquale Pisapia, PhD, University of Naples Federico II, Italy

Submission Status: Open   |   Submission Deadline: 26 July 2024 

BMC Cancer is calling for submissions to our Collection on the applications of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and liquid biopsies in precision oncology. Liquid biopsies analyzing ctDNA offer non-invasive insights into cancer's molecular landscape, and are being increasingly utilized to monitor treatment responses and drug resistance, and to aid in early diagnosis of cancer. In recognition of the growing importance of this subject, BMC Cancer is welcoming clinical and methodological submissions on ctDNA and liquid biopsies, as well as biorepositories with annotated liquid biopsy samples and Electronic Health Record (EHR) data.

New Content ItemThis Collection supports and amplifies research related to SDG 3: Good Health & Wellbeing.

Meet the Guest Editors

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Claude Chelala, PhD, Deputy Centre Lead, Centre for Cancer Biomarkers and Biotherapeutics, Barts Cancer Institute (BCI), Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), UK

Claude Chelala joined the Barts Cancer Institute to translate her work from a substantial basic/computational research platform into a translational/patient setting. She established an interdisciplinary team with expertise in translational bioinformatics, health data science, molecular biology, biobanking and software engineering. 

She leads the Health Informatics and Bioinformatics for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund Tissue Bank and the Breast Cancer Now Tissue Bank creating an ecosystem with interlinking clinical, in vivo, in vitro and in silico resources. Her research focuses on breast cancer recurrence and the clinical utility of histologically normal tissue adjacent to the tumor and imaging free text reports. She uses liquid biopsy, omics and health records for tracking tumor dynamics in pancreatic cancer where quality of life and survival are especially poor. She has developed translational tools such as SNPnexus to prioritize clinically relevant sequence variations for precision medicine as well as translational platforms / analytics hubs for integrating omics data for skin aging, pancreatic cancer and breast cancer.

Pasquale Pisapia, MD, PhD, Department of Public Health, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy

Pasquale Pisapia, MD, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Specialist in Anatomic Pathology at the University of Naples Federico II in Naples, Italy. His main research interest is in molecular pathology, with a particular focus on the development, validation, and implementation of molecular techniques, especially NGS, in molecular predictive and prognostic biomarkers in different solid tumors (for example, NSCLC and CRC), on both tissue (histological or cytological) and liquid biopsy specimens.

About the Collection

The use of liquid biopsies and analysis of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) as an alternative to conventional tumor biopsies is increasingly common. This non-invasive technique coupled with next-generation sequencing technologies is providing insight into the mutational and molecular profiles of cancer. In clinical practice, the use of liquid biopsies is guiding treatment options in precision oncology and is being used to predict responses to targeted therapies and immunotherapy. Increasingly, with the ability to repeatedly assess patients over extended periods of time, liquid biopsies is also a useful tool for measuring responses to treatment and monitoring drug resistance. New research also highlights the potential roles liquid biopsies can play in early diagnosis and screening, as well as detecting minimal resistant disease in the curative setting and guiding adjuvant therapeutics. 

Access to longitudinal liquid biopsies samples from patients with linked Electronic Health Records (EHRs) is key to understand clinical history and trajectory and realize the full health benefit of liquid biopsy. There is an important role for modern biorepositories with standardized collection, providing researchers with access to liquid biopsy samples with longitudinal follow-up data and ability to share output with the scientific community. 

In recognition of the importance of liquid biopsies in the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of cancer, BMC Cancer welcomes submissions to a newly launched Collection, Applications of ctDNA and liquid biopsies in precision oncology. We welcome submissions that investigate the use of liquid biopsies in a clinical setting as well as submissions that focus on improving methodologies for purification and sequencing. We also invite biorepositories with well annotated liquid biopsy samples to promote their retrospective and prospective collection with associated EHR data. The scope of this Collection includes but is not limited to:

  • Use of liquid biopsies in early detection and screenings for cancer
  • Utility of liquid biopsies in monitoring drug resistance 
  • Liquid biopsy-guided adjuvant therapy 
  • Use of ctDNA and liquid biopsies to detect recurrence and minimal residual disease
  • Liquid biopsy as a tool to profile mutational tumors non-invasively and monitor changes in mutations
  • Development of new liquid biopsy methodology including extraction and sequencing methodologies 
  • Use of liquid biopsies for cancer subtyping and classification 
  • Methylation status detection in ctDNA samples 
  • Study protocols that include the use of ctDNA biomarkers
  • Biorepositories with standardized, annotated and longitudinal liquid biopsy collections

This Collection supports and amplifies research related to SDG 3: Good Health & Wellbeing.

Image credit: [M] catalin /

  1. Circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA, liquid biopsy) is a powerful tool to detect molecular alterations. However, depending on tumor characteristics, biology and anatomic localization, cfDNA detection and analysis...

    Authors: Stefania Crucitta, Francesco Pasqualetti, Alessandra Gonnelli, Martina Ruglioni, Giovanna Irene Luculli, Martina Cantarella, Valerio Ortenzi, Cristian Scatena, Fabiola Paiar, Antonio Giuseppe Naccarato, Romano Danesi and Marzia Del Re
    Citation: BMC Cancer 2024 24:31

Submission Guidelines

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This Collection welcomes submission of original Research Articles. Should you wish to submit a different article type, please read our submission guidelines to confirm that type is accepted by the journal. Articles for this Collection should be submitted via our submission system, Snapp. During the submission process you will be asked whether you are submitting to a Collection, please select "Applications of ctDNA in precision oncology" from the dropdown menu.

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process and are subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

The Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer review process. The peer review of any submissions for which the Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests.