Progress in circulating tumor cell capture and analysis: Implications for cancer management

Marija Balic, Henry Lin, Anthony Williams, Ram H. Datar, Richard J. Cote

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The hematogenous dissemination of cancer and development of distant metastases is the cause of nearly all cancer deaths. Detection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) as a surrogate biomarker of metastases has gained increasing interest. There is accumulating evidence on development of novel technologies for CTC detection, their prognostic relevance and their use in therapeutic response monitoring. Many clinical trials in the early and metastatic cancer setting, particularly in breast cancer, are including CTCs in their translational research programs and as secondary end points. We summarize the progress of detection methods in the context of their clinical importance and speculate on the possibilities of wider implementation of CTCs as a diagnostic oncology tool, the likelihood that CTCs will be used as a useful biomarker, especially to monitor therapeutic response, and what may be expected from the future improvements in technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-312
Number of pages10
JournalExpert Review of Molecular Diagnostics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • CTC
  • DTC
  • cancer stem cells
  • characterization
  • circulating tumor cells
  • detection
  • enrichment
  • epithelial-mesenchymal transition
  • metastasis


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