Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) can be detected in the blood of different types of early or advanced cancer using immunology-based assays or nucleic acid methods. The detection and quantification of CTCs has significant clinical utility in the prognosis of metastatic breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. CTCs are a heterogeneous population of cells and often different from those of their respective primary tumor. Understanding the biology of CTCs may provide useful predictive information for the selection of the most appropriate treatment. Therefore, CTC detection and characterization could become a valuable tool to refine prognosis and serve as a “real-time biopsy” and has the potential to guide precision cancer therapies, monitor cancer treatment, and investigate the process of metastasis.
- Circulating tumor cells
- CTC enrichment and enumeration