Special Issue "Circulating Tumor Cells as Cancer Diagnostic Biomarkers"

A special issue of Diagnostics (ISSN 2075-4418). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Diagnosis".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Dario Marchetti

Director, Biomarker Research Program, Houston Methodist Research Institute, Professor, Institute of Academic Medicine, Visiting Professor, Baylor College of Medicine, MS: R7-414, 6670 Bertner Avenue, Houston, TX 77030, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: the biology and therapeutic utility of circulating tumor cells (CTCs); liquid biopsies; mechanisms of brain metastasis and dormancy in breast and melanoma cancers; roles of heparanase in development and disease

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The major cause of cancer mortality is metastasis; however, the mechanisms of clinical metastasis remain poorly understood. Because tumor cell dissemination mostly occurs through the blood, deciphering biomarkers, properties and characteristics of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are of fundamental relevance to develop and implement novel drug therapies in oncology. CTCs can act as “liquid biopsy” to diagnose and monitor cancer in patients in “real time”. They represent clinically useful tools to better reflect cancer progression, nascent metastatic disease, and therapy efficacy in the patient.

There are multiple challenges connected with CTC research and CTC clinical implementation. CTCs are rare, fragile, and heterogeneous, latter either inherited from respective primary/metastatic tumors or as a result of CTC properties interconversion by genetic/epigenetic progression that may or may not lead to a fully metastatic-competent CTC.  Significant technical challenges in the field also persist to identify and interrogate CTC heterogeneity, discover CTC biomarkers of clinical utility, and comprehensively capture and interrogate CTCs. Many studies have reported the clinical impact of CTCs since CTC testing has being applied in over 300 clinical trials worldwide. However, much of the CTC biology needs to be discovered and many scientific/technical challenges must be overcome before their clinical promise as biomarkers and targets for improved therapies can be fulfilled.

The objective of this Special Issue is to publish latest findings of CTC research. Contributions outlining CTC discoveries in biological and clinical settings, CTC theoretical and pre-clinical models, CTC technologies and methods for their detection, and clinical findings applying CTC concepts, are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Dario Marchetti
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diagnostics is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • CTCs
  • Liquid Biopsy
  • Cancer metastasis
  • The biology and therapeutic utility of CTCs
  • CTC technologies
  • Tumor dormancy
  • Mechanisms of metastasis

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) Analysis in Preclinical Models of Cancer Metastasis
Alison L. Allan, et al.
Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Western University, London, ON, Canada
Abstract: The majority of cancer deaths occur due to metastasis, as current therapies are largely non-curative in the metastatic setting. The use of in vivo preclinical models that allow assessment of metastasis is therefore critical for development of effective new cancer biomarkers and therapies. Although a number of quantitative tools have been previously developed to study in vivo metastasis, the detection and quantification of rare metastatic events has remained challenging. This review will discuss the use of circulating tumor cell (CTC) analysis as an effective means of tracking and characterizing metastatic disease progression in preclinical mouse models of breast and prostate cancer, and the resulting lessons learned about CTC and metastasis biology. We will also discuss how the use of clinically-relevant CTC technologies such as the CellSearch and Parsortix platforms for pre-clinical CTC studies can serve to enhance the understanding and translation of cancer biology and new biomarkers and therapies from the bench to the bedside.

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