Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are elements of indisputable significance as they seem to be responsible for the onset of metastasis. Despite this, research into CTCs and their clinical application have been hindered by their rarity and heterogeneity at the molecular and cellular level, and also by a lack of technical standardization. Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is a highly aggressive cancer that is often diagnosed at an advanced stage. Its incidence has increased so much in recent years that new diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers are urgently needed. Preliminary findings suggest that CTCs could represent an effective, non-invasive, real-time assessable biomarker in all stages of EAC. This review provides an overview of EAC and CTC characteristics and reports the main research results obtained on CTCs in this setting. The need to carry out further basic and translational research in this area to confirm the clinical usefulness of CTCs and to provide oncologists with a tool to improve therapeutic strategies for EAC patients was herein highlighted.
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