What is the Purpose of Biomarkers

What is the purpose of biomarkers? Biomarkers are important for measuring the presence, progress, and effects of the treatment of a disease.

Biomarkers are a broad range of measurements, capturing the things happening in a cell or organism at a given moment. They also can serve as early warning systems of the health.

Key Areas Covered

1. What are Biomarkers
    – Definition, Features 
2. What is the Purpose of Biomarkers
    – Explanation of Purpose and Importance

Key Terms

BiomarkersWhat is the Purpose of Biomarkers - Summary

What are Biomarkers

A biomarker is an indicator for measuring and detecting pathogenic factors and assessing biological conditions.  The field of cancer diagnosis and treatment widely uses biomarkers. Moreover, a biomarker is an indicator of a specific disease and physical state in the living tissue. It can also detect the symptoms of a specific disease. More importantly, some biomarkers can deliver a specific drug to a specific tissue. Therefore, a biomarker labels the drug transmitting to a target tissue.

What is the Purpose of Biomarkers

Figure 1: Heart Rate

Furthermore, there are two types of biomarkers; molecular biomarkers and phenotypic biomarkers.

Molecular Biomarkers

Molecular biomarkers, which are available in both biochemical and DNA, are non-imaging biomarkers that have biophysical properties such as plasma, serum, cerebrospinal fluid, and bronchoalveolar lavage. Also, molecular biomarkers are used as tools for cancer risk assessment, early detection and screening of cancer, accurate diagnosis, patient prognosis, cancer surveillance and monitoring response, and prediction of response to therapy. 

Phenotypic Biomarkers

Phenotypic biomarkers, on the other hand, can be non-invasive, panoramic, and easy to obtain. They are genetic and epigenetic polymorphisms bearing information about either intrinsic or extrinsic features of a human being. Also, phenotypic biomarkers are used in drug screening and companion diagnostics, and lead compound discovery.

What is the Purpose of Biomarkers

Biomarkers are a broad range of measurements capturing the things happening inside the cell or organisms at a given moment. They use medical signs to measure the presence, progress, and effects of drugs against a particular disease condition. Biomarkers include physiological, radiographic, histologic, and molecular characteristics. Therefore, examples of biomarkers include blood pressure, heart rate, X-ray findings, blood tests, histologic tests, genetic tests, etc. Thus, biomarkers are measurable and need not define how the patient feels and functions.

Purpose of Biomarkers

Figure 2: Biomarkers

Although the term ‘biomarkers’ is new, it was applicable in the past. Medical signs are used as biomarkers. Many biomarkers are commonly in use and well-researched, including biomarkers such as urinalysis, heart rate, and blood pressure. Moreover, new biomarkers are introduced due to the advance in molecular biology. This serves as an early diagnosis and determining the effects of drugs. Biomarkers allow us to determine specific therapy while effectively treating the disease. Therefore, biomarkers increase the quality of life reducing mortality.

Types of Biomarkers

There are four types of biomarkers: molecular, radiographic, histologic, and physiologic.

  • Molecular biomarkers – measure the biophysical properties of serum, plasma, cerebrospinal fluid, bronchoalveolar lavage, and biopsy.
  • Radiographic biomarkers – radiologic properties can study images of organs.
  • Histologic biomarkers – histologic properties measure biochemical alterations in cells, tissues, and fluids.
  • Physiologic biomarkers – physiological properties measure body processes.

Some examples of biomarkers are blood glucose, grading and staging of cancer, bone mineral density, and blood pressure. 


In brief, biomarkers are measurements of the presence and progress of diseases while determining the effect of treatment of diseases. They serve as determinants of pathogenic factors, assessing biological conditions. Therefore, they are important in measuring the things occurring inside a living organism. The main importance of biomarkers is to measure the presence and progress of disease while monitoring the effectiveness of treatment of a particular disease. They are also important for the early diagnosis of diseases while determining the effectiveness of drugs. Biomarkers can determine the conditions of disease in a patient. Some examples of biomarkers include blood glucose, blood pressure, heart rate, bone mineral density, biophysical properties of blood, plasma, properties such as plasma, serum, cerebrospinal fluid, bronchoalveolar lavage, etc.

  1. “What is a biomarker? ” Lippincott NursingCenter. 
Image Courtesy:
  1. Heart rate variability (HRV)” By YitzhakNat – Derivative work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
  2. Cancer biomarker figure” By K.go2011 – Own Work (CC-BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things. She has a keen interest in writing articles regarding science.

Leave a Reply