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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2014 Jan 15;306(2):C80-8. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00294.2013. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

Physical biology in cancer. 2. The physical biology of circulating tumor cells.

Author information

1
Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon;

Abstract

The identification, isolation, and characterization of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) promises to enhance our understanding of the evolution of cancer in humans. CTCs provide a window into the hematogenous, or "fluid phase," of cancer, underlying the metastatic transition in which a locally contained tumor spreads to other locations in the body through the bloodstream. With the development of sensitive and specific CTC identification and isolation methodologies, the role of CTCs in clinical diagnostics, disease surveillance, and the physical basis of metastasis continues to be established. This review focuses on the quantification of the basic biophysical properties of CTCs and the use of these metrics to understand the hematogenous dissemination of these enigmatic cells.

KEYWORDS:

circulating tumor cells; coagulation; fluid biopsy; metastasis

PMID:
24133063
PMCID:
PMC3919989
DOI:
10.1152/ajpcell.00294.2013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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