Circulating tumor cells in metastatic breast cancer: Clinical applications and future possibilities

Maggie Banys-Paluchowski*, Florian Reinhardt, Tanja Fehm

*Corresponding author for this work
2 Citations (Scopus)


Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have gained importance as an emerging biomarker in solid tumors in the last two decades. Several detection assays have been introduced by various study groups, with EpCAM-based CellSearch system being the most widely used and standardized technique. In breast cancer, detection of CTCs correlates with clinical outcome in early and metastatic settings. CTC persistence beyond first cycle of palliative chemotherapy indicates poor response to treatment in metastatic situation. Beyond prognostication and therapy monitoring, CTC counts can guide treatment decisions in hormone receptor positive HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer. Furthermore, CTC-based therapy interventions are currently under investigation in clinical trials. In this review, we focus on the current state of knowledge and possible clinical applications of CTC diagnostics in patients with metastatic breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3311
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 01.05.2020

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)
  • Centers: University Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)


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