Areas covered: This review has focused on extracellular genomic material that could serve as biomarkers of OA. Recent studies have examined the expression of extracellular genomic material such as miRNA, lncRNA, snoRNA, mRNA and cell-free DNA, which are aberrantly expressed in the body fluids of OA patients. Changes in genomic content of peripheral blood mononuclear cells in OA could also function as biomarkers of OA.
Expert commentary: There is an unmet need for soluble biomarkers for detecting and then monitoring OA disease progression. Extracellular genomic material research may also reveal more about the underlying pathophysiology of OA. Minimally-invasive liquid biopsies such as synovial fluid and blood sampling of genomic material may be more sensitive over radiography in the detection, diagnosis and monitoring of OA in the future.