Engineering state-of-the-art plasmonic nanomaterials for SERS-based clinical liquid biopsy applications

Jing Wang, Kevin M. Koo*, Yuling Wang, Matt Trau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)


Precision oncology, defined as the use of the molecular understanding of cancer to implement personalized patient treatment, is currently at the heart of revolutionizing oncology practice. Due to the need for repeated molecular tumor analyses in facilitating precision oncology, liquid biopsies, which involve the detection of noninvasive cancer biomarkers in circulation, may be a critical key. Yet, existing liquid biopsy analysis technologies are still undergoing an evolution to address the challenges of analyzing trace quantities of circulating tumor biomarkers reliably and cost effectively. Consequently, the recent emergence of cutting-edge plasmonic nanomaterials represents a paradigm shift in harnessing the unique merits of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) biosensing platforms for clinical liquid biopsy applications. Herein, an expansive review on the design/synthesis of a new generation of diverse plasmonic nanomaterials, and an updated evaluation of their demonstrated SERS-based uses in liquid biopsies, such as circulating tumor cells, tumor-derived extracellular vesicles, as well as circulating cancer proteins, and tumor nucleic acids is presented. Existing challenges impeding the clinical translation of plasmonic nanomaterials for SERS-based liquid biopsy applications are also identified, and outlooks and insights into advancing this rapidly growing field for practical patient use are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1900730
Pages (from-to)1-35
Number of pages35
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number23
Early online date30 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • clinical translation
  • liquid biopsies
  • plasmonic nanomaterials
  • precision oncology
  • surface-enhanced Raman scattering


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