Circulating tumor cells: silent predictors of metastasis

Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) were added to the arsenal of clinical testing in 2004 for three cancer types: metastatic breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer. CTCs were found to be an independent prognostic indicator of survival for these three diseases. Multiple enrichment/isolation strategies have been developed and numerous assay applications have been performed using both single and pooled captured/enriched CTCs. We have reviewed the isolation techniques and touched on many analyses. The true utility of a CTC is that it acts as a "silent" predictor of metastatic disease. The mere presence of a single CTC is an indication that disease has spread from the primary site. Comments and suggestions have been set forth for CTCs and cell-free DNA to be used as a screening panel for the early detection of disease recurrence and metastatic spread, providing the opportunity for early intervention with curative intent to treat metastatic disease.

F1000Research. 2017 Aug 14*** epublish ***

LanLan Zhou, David T Dicker, Elizabeth Matthew, Wafik S El-Deiry, R Katherine Alpaugh

Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA.