High-Performance Nucleic Acid Sensors for Liquid Biopsy Applications

Jagotamoy Das, Shana O. Kelley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Circulating tumour nucleic acids (ctNAs) are released from tumours cells and can be detected in blood samples, providing a way to track tumors without requiring a tissue sample. This “liquid biopsy” approach has the potential to replace invasive, painful, and costly tissue biopsies in cancer diagnosis and management. However, a very sensitive and specific approach is required to detect relatively low amounts of mutant sequences linked to cancer because they are masked by the high levels of wild-type sequences. This review discusses high-performance nucleic acid biosensors for ctNA analysis in patient samples. We compare sequencing- and amplification-based methods to next-generation sensors for ctDNA and ctRNA (including microRNA) profiling, such as electrochemical methods, surface plasmon resonance, Raman spectroscopy, and microfluidics and dielectrophoresis-based assays. We present an overview of the analytical sensitivity and accuracy of these methods as well as the biological and technical challenges they present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2554-2564
Number of pages11
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 10 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • circulating nucleic acids
  • DNA sequencing
  • electrochemical methods
  • liquid biopsy
  • microfluidics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


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