SC21: Liquid Biopsy: Detection, Characterization, and Clinical Applications of Circulating Biomarkers

MONDAY, MARCH 2 | 8:00 - 11:00 AM


The analysis of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and circulating cell-free tumor DNA (ctDNA) in blood of cancer patients has received enormous attention because of its obvious clinical implications for personalized medicine. Analyses of CTCs and ctDNA have paved new diagnostic avenues as Liquid Biopsy. The present course will focus on key areas of clinical applications of liquid biopsy specimens (CTCs, ctDNA, microRNA and exosomes).


  • Introduction
  • Biology
  • Technologies
  • Clinical Applications
    • Detection of cancer
    • Prediction of prognosis in patients with curable disease
    • Monitoring systemic therapies
    • Stratification of patients based on the detection of therapeutic targets or resistance mechanisms
    • Concluding Remarks and Discussion
  • Concluding Remarks and Discussion


Alix-Panabières_CatherineCatherine Alix-Panabières, PhD, Director, Laboratory of Rare Human Circulating Cells (LCCRH), Pathology and Onco-Biology Department, University Medical Center of Montpellier, France

Dr. Catherine Alix-Panabières received her PhD degree in 1998 at the Institute of Virology, University Louis Pasteur, in Strasbourg in France. In 1999, she moved to Montpellier where she did a postdoctoral research in the Department of Immuno-Virology of the University Medical Centre of Montpellier, France. During this last decade, Dr Alix-Panabières has focused on optimizing new techniques of enrichment and detection of viable disseminating tumor cells in patients with solid tumors. She is the expert for the EPISPOT technology that is used to detect viable tumor cells in the peripheral blood and the bone marrow of patients with breast, prostate, colon, head & neck cancer and melanoma.

In 2010, she achieved getting a permanent position at the Hospital and at the Faculty of Medicine of Montpellier (MCU-PH), a wonderful mixture of giving teaching lessons to medical students on Cancer Biology in combination of developing this field of tumor cell dissemination at the hospital for the cancer patients, leading strongly translational clinical research. As an associate professor, she recently became the new director of the Laboratory of Rare Human Circulating Cells (LCCRH) in the Department of Cell & Tissue Biopathology of tumors.

In this unique platform LCCRH, they isolate, detect and characterize circulating tumor cells using combinations of the EPISPOT assay, the CellSearch® system (Janssen), the flow cytometry, the CellCollector (GILUPI), the molecular biology (AmpliSpeed device), the Parsortix system and the DEPArray (Silicon Biosystem) for single cell sorting. She has authored or co-authored >50 scientific publications in this field during the last years including 10 book chapters and she is part of two big European projects: CTC-SCAN (Transcan project) and CANCER-ID (IMI project). After she got the Scientific Prize given by the Region Languedoc-Roussillon in 2008, it was a great honor for her to receive the Gallet et Breton Cancer Prize, the highest honor conferred by the French Academy of Medicine in November 2012.

Pantel_KlausKlaus Pantel, MD, Professor and Founding Director, Institute of Tumor Biology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, University of Hamburg, Germany

Prof Pantel is Chairman of the Institute of Tumour Biology at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. The institute is part of the Centre of Experimental Medicine and the University Cancer Center Hamburg (UCCH). Prof Pantel graduated in 1986 from Cologne University in Germany and completed his thesis on mathematical modelling of haematopoiesis in 1987. After his postdoctoral period in the USA on hematopoietic stem cell regulation (Wayne State University, Detroit), he performed research at the Institute of Immunology, University of Munich for 10 years. The pioneer work of Prof Pantel in the field of cancer micrometastasis, circulating tumor cells and circulating nucleic acids (ctDNA, microRNAs) is reflected by more than 500 publications in excellent high ranking biomedical and scientific journals (incl. NEJM, Lancet, Nature Journals, Cancer Cell, Science Translational Medicine, Cancer Discovery, PNAS, JCO, JNCI, Cancer Res.) and has been awarded the AACR Outstanding Investigator Award 2010, German Cancer Award 2010, and two ERC Advanced Investigator Grants 2011 and 2019. Moreover, Prof Pantel coordinates the European IMI consortium CANCER-ID ( on blood-based “Liquid Biopsies” in lung and breast cancer comprising 37 partner institutions from academia, non-profit organizations and industry.

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