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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

Editor-in-Chief: Plebani, Mario

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In This Section
Volume 49, Issue 10 (Oct 2011)


Circulating tumor cells as emerging tumor biomarkers in breast cancer

Evi S. Lianidou
  • Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Athens, Athens, Greece
  • Email:
/ Athina Markou
  • Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Published Online: 2011-07-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2011.628


Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) provide unique information for the management of breast cancer patients, since their detection and monitoring is useful for prognosis, prediction of response to therapy, or monitoring clinical course in patients with localized or metastatic disease. Currently, the most practical application of CTCs is monitoring of patients with metastatic disease. Elevated CTC levels prior to initiation of a new systemic therapy are associated with a worse prognosis while persistently elevated CTC levels strongly suggest that the therapeutic regimen with which the patient is being treated is not working. New areas of research are directed toward developing novel sensitive assays for CTC molecular characterization. Molecular characterization of CTCs is very important for the future use of CTCs as targets of novel therapies. This review has focused on the presentation of recent data showing that CTCs are emerging as novel tumor biomarkers for prognostic and predictive purposes in breast cancer.

Keywords: breast cancer; circulating tumor cells; liquid biopsy; micrometastasis; mimal residual disease; tumor biomarkers

About the article

Corresponding author: Dr. Evi S. Lianidou, Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Athens, Athens 15771, Greece Phone: +30 210 7274319, Fax: +30 210 7274750

Received: 2011-03-01

Accepted: 2011-05-02

Published Online: 2011-07-29

Published in Print: 2011-10-01

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2011.628. Export Citation

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