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Table 3 Advantages and disadvantages of current technologies in biomarker discovery

From: Liquid biomarkers in melanoma: detection and discovery

Biomarker Detection Technology Advantages Disadvantages
Proteins and peptides Mass spectrometry High specificity, accurate identification of proteins Requires significant optimization, time-consuming, limited dynamic range of detection, affected by abundant proteins
Affinity-based multiplex assays High throughput, allows absolute quantification, requires small sample amounts, does not require depletion of abundant proteins Detection limited to selected protein targets, potential cross reactivity of antibodies or aptamers may contribute to false positives
ctDNA Digital PCR Cost effective, high accuracy and reproducibility Lacks standardization and is limited to 1–2 mutations per test
BEAMing High sensitivity, accuracy, and reproducibility Lacks standardization and is limited to a single mutation per test
Next generation sequencing Allows large-scale coverage Costly and complex, low sensitivity
miRNA and lncRNA Quantitative PCR Widely used, straightforward, and cost effective Requires a standard curve and specificity is dependent on primer design
Exosomes ExoScreen High throughput, requires small sample amounts, and eliminates complicated isolation steps Lacks normalization and standardization
Circulating tumor cells Cell Search Highly specific and robust, and has minimal variability Requires known cell surface marker (i.e. EpCAM) to capture cells
Slated spiral microfluidics Fast processing time and cost effective Requires large sample volume
Circulating immune cells Flow cytometry High throughput, able to screen multiple markers simultaneously Limited number of markers due to spectral overlap
Mass cytometry High throughput, able to screen multiple markers simultaneously Requires significant expertise, slow acquisition rate and requires more stringent sample preparation