The Clinical Utility of Cell-Free DNA Measurement in Differentiated Thyroid Cancer: A Systematic Review

Jonathan M. Fussey*, Jennifer L. Bryant, Nikolaos Batis, Rachael J. Spruce, Andrew Hartley, James S. Good, Christopher J. McCabe, Kristien Boelaert, Neil Sharma, Hisham Mehanna

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
186 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Cell-free DNA (cfDNA) can be detected in the circulation of healthy individuals, but is found in higher concentrations in cancer patients. Furthermore, mutations in tumor cells can be identified in circulating DNA fragments. This has been the subject of significant interest in the field of cancer research, but little has been published in thyroid cancer.

Objectives: To assess all available evidence on the use of circulating cfDNA in the diagnosis, management and surveillance of patients with differentiated thyroid cancer, and collate it into a systematic review to guide future research.

Methods: A comprehensive literature search on the measurement of cfDNA in thyroid cancer was undertaken, and results from relevant studies collated into a systematic review.

Results: Nine studies were identified, with varying methodologies and findings. Key techniques and findings are summarized.

Conclusion: There is limited but promising evidence that somatic mutations in thyroid cancer can be detected in circulating cfDNA and are associated with more advanced disease. Further research is required to develop a clinically useful tool based on cfDNA to improve the management of thyroid cancers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number132
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Issue numberAPR
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2018


  • Cell-free
  • Cell-free DNA
  • Cell-free systems
  • Circulating DNA
  • DNA
  • Thyroid cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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