Circulating Tumor Cells as Cancer Biomarkers in the Clinic.
Advances in experimental medicine and biology, May 31, 2017
It is believed that the development of metastatic cancer requires the presence of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) , which are found in a patient’s circulation as rare abnormal cells comingled with billions of the normal red and white blood cells. The systems developed for detection of CTCs have brought progress to cancer treatment. The molecular characterization of CTCs can aid in the development of new drugs, and their presence during treatment can help clinicians determine the prognosis of the patient. Studies have been carried out in patients early in the disease course, with only primary tumors, and the role of CTCs in prognosis seems to be as important as it is in patients with metastatic disease. The published studies on CTCs have focused on their prognostic significance, their utility in real-time monitoring of therapies, the identification of therapeutic and resistance targets, and understanding the process of metastasis . The analysis of CTCs during the early stages, as a “liquid biopsy,” helps to monitor patients at different points in the disease course, including minimal residual disease, providing valuable information about the very early assessment of treatment effectiveness. Finally, CTCs can be used to screen patients with family histories of cancer or with diseases that can lead to the development of cancer. With standard protocols, this easily obtained and practical tool can be used to prevent the growth and spread of cancer. In this chapter, we review some important aspects of CTCs , surveying the disease aspects where these cells have been investigated.
Pubmed Link: 28560666