Identification and quantitation of circulating tumor cells

Siddarth Rawal, Yu Ping Yang, Richard Cote, Ashutosh Agarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are shed from the primary tumor into the circulatory system and act as seeds that initiate cancer metastasis to distant sites. CTC enumeration has been shown to have a significant prognostic value as a surrogate marker in various cancers. The widespread clinical utility of CTC tests, however, is still limited due to the inherent rarity and heterogeneity of CTCs, which necessitate robust techniques for their efficient enrichment and detection. Significant recent advances have resulted in technologies with the ability to improve yield and purity of CTC enrichment as well as detection sensitivity. Current efforts are largely focused on the translation and standardization of assays to fully realize the clinical utility of CTCs. In this review, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview of CTC enrichment and detection techniques with an emphasis on novel approaches for rapid quantification of CTCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-343
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual Review of Analytical Chemistry
StatePublished - Jun 12 2017


  • Biosensors
  • CTC isolation
  • Live-cell capture
  • Microfluidics
  • Nanotechnology
  • Precision medicine


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