Circulating tumor cells in gastrointestinal malignancies: current techniques and clinical implications.

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J Oncol. 2010;2010:392652. Epub 2009 Nov 5.
Circulating tumor cells in gastrointestinal malignancies: current techniques and clinical implications.
Lurje G, Schiesser M, Claudius A, Schneider PM.
Department
of Visceral- and Transplantation Surgery, Department of Surgery,
University Hospital Zurich, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland.

Since
their introduction more than 50 years by Engell, circulating tumor
cells (CTCs) have been evaluated in cancer patients and their detection
has been correlated with clinical outcome, in esophageal, gastric, and
colorectal cancer. With the availability of refined technologies, the
identification of CTCs from peripheral blood is emerging as a useful
tool for the detection of malignancy, monitoring disease progression,
and measuring response to therapy. However, increasing evidence
suggests a variety of factors to be responsible for disease
progression. The analysis of a single CTC marker is therefore unlikely
to accurately predict progression of disease with sufficient resolution
and reproducibility. Here we discuss the current concept of CTCs,
summarize the available techniques for their detection and
characterization, and aim to provide a comprehensive update on the
clinical implications of CTCs in gastrointestinal (GI) malignancies.