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Nat Rev Cancer. 2014 Sep;14(9):623-31. doi: 10.1038/nrc3820. Epub 2014 Jul 31.

Challenges in circulating tumour cell research.

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1] University Medical Centre, Saint-Eloi Hospital, Institute of Medicine Regenerative &Biotherapy, Department of Cellular and Tissular Biopathology of Tumors, Laboratory of Rare Human Circulating Cells, 80 Avenue Augustin Fliche 34295 Montpellier Cedex 5, Montpellier, France. [2] University Institute of Clinical Research UM1 - EA2415 - Epidemiology, Biostatistics &Public Health, 641, Avenue du Doyen Gaston GIRAUD 34093 Montpellier Cedex 5, Montpellier, France.
Department of Tumor Biology, University Medical Center, Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistrasse 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany.


During the past ten years, circulating tumour cells (CTCs) have received enormous attention as new biomarkers and the subject of basic research. Although CTCs are already used in numerous clinical trials, their clinical utility is still under investigation. Many issues regarding the detection and characterization of CTCs remain unknown. In this Opinion article, we propose a conceptual framework of CTC assays and point out current challenges of CTC research, which might structure this dynamic field of translational cancer research.

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