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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2010 Feb;20(1):96-9. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2009.12.002. Epub 2010 Jan 12.

Circulating tumor cells: a window into cancer biology and metastasis.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, United States.


The presence of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) accompanies tumor invasion into the bloodstream. Detection, monitoring, and molecular analysis of these rare cancer cells shed into blood will provide a powerful and noninvasive approach for the detection of early disease, assessing prognosis and therapeutic response in established cancers, and targeting metastatic precursor cells. We review current and emerging technologies for CTC isolation, with a focus on capture efficiency, purity, and viability of CTCs, and their potential clinical applications.

Copyright 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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