Cell-free DNA: preanalytical variables
Bronkhorst, Abel Jacobus
Pretorius, Piet J.
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Since the discovery of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in human blood, most studies have focused on diagnostic and prognostic uses of these markers for solid tumors. Except for some prenatal tests and BEAMing, cfDNA analysis has not yet been translated to clinical practice and routine application appears distant. This can be attributed to overlapping factors: (i) a lack of knowledge regarding the origin and function of cfDNA, (ii) insufficient molecular characterization, and (iii) the absence of an analytical consensus. In this review, we address the latter determinant and focus specifically on quantitative analysis of cfDNA. While the literature reports limited value for a single quantitative assessment, cfDNA kinetic assessment will be an essential component to qualitative characterization. In order to establish quantitative analysis for accurate kinetic assessments, process optimization and standardization are crucial. This report elucidates the most confounding variables of each preanalytic step that must be considered for optimal analysis