Circulating cell-free nucleic acids: characteristics and applications

Pös, O.a, Biró, O.b, Szemes, T.a, Nagy, B.c

aDepartment of Molecular Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia
bGenetic Laboratory, 1st Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
cDepartment of Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary


Liquid biopsy is becoming a very popular sample obtaining procedure, replacing the invasive sampling methods for the diagnostic protocols. The advantages of this method include the possibility to isolate cell-free nucleic acids (cfNAs) for diagnostic or screening purposes. A comprehensive review combining all current and perspective applications of cell-free nucleic acids is missing. Published articles are dealing with one type of cfNAs, or discuss them from the perspective of single disorder. We collected here all known types of cfNAs which are known to be present in biological fluids and could be involved in further studies to find out the exact biological role of them in normal physiological and pathological conditions. Beyond doubt, cfNAs will have a tremendous effect in future screening, diagnosis, prognosis, follow-up and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and other diseases.