Mol Diagn Ther 2012 Feb;16(1):7-11
Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are cells of presumed epithelial origin, whose prognostic and predictive value in metastatic cancer patients has recently been demonstrated. To date, the count of CTCs through the CellSearch® system represents a valid approach for monitoring disease status in patients with metastatic colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer; in these cancer types, a rise in the CTC count at any time during treatment predicts a poor outcome. Nevertheless, the clinical utility of monitoring CTC counts remains controversial, and what to do when CTC counts rise during therapy still remains an unanswered question. In this report, we suggest how to integrate CTC counts with their molecular characterization to better translate biologic information obtained on CTCs into daily clinical practice.