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Cancers 2010, 2(2), 1236-1250; doi:10.3390/cancers2021236
Review

Circulating Tumor Cells, Enumeration and Beyond

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Received: 8 April 2010; in revised form: 21 May 2010 / Accepted: 26 May 2010 / Published: 9 June 2010
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Abstract: The detection and enumeration of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) has shown significant clinical utility with respect to prognosis in breast, colorectal and prostate cancers. Emerging studies show that CTCs can provide pharmacodynamic information to aid therapy decision making. CTCs as a ‘virtual and real-time biopsy’ have clear potential to facilitate exploration of tumor biology, and in particular, the process of metastasis. The challenge of profiling CTC molecular characteristics and generating CTC signatures using current technologies is that they enrich rather than purify CTCs from whole blood; we face the problem of looking for the proverbial ‘needle in the haystack’. This review summarizes the current methods for CTC detection and enumeration, focuses on molecular characterization of CTCs, unveils some aspects of CTC heterogeneity, describes attempts to purify CTCs and scans the horizon for approaches leading to comprehensive dissection of CTC biology.
Keywords: circulating tumor cells (CTC); circulating tumor micro-emboli; CTC technology; CTC enumeration; CTC molecular characterization; CTC biomarkers circulating tumor cells (CTC); circulating tumor micro-emboli; CTC technology; CTC enumeration; CTC molecular characterization; CTC biomarkers
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hou, J.-M.; Krebs, M.; Ward, T.; Morris, K.; Sloane, R.; Blackhall, F.; Dive, C. Circulating Tumor Cells, Enumeration and Beyond. Cancers 2010, 2, 1236-1250.

AMA Style

Hou J-M, Krebs M, Ward T, Morris K, Sloane R, Blackhall F, Dive C. Circulating Tumor Cells, Enumeration and Beyond. Cancers. 2010; 2(2):1236-1250.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hou, Jian-Mei; Krebs, Matthew; Ward, Tim; Morris, Karen; Sloane, Robert; Blackhall, Fiona; Dive, Caroline. 2010. "Circulating Tumor Cells, Enumeration and Beyond." Cancers 2, no. 2: 1236-1250.


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