Jan 7, 2018

Circulating Tumor Cells and Implications of the Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition

Advances in Clinical Chemistry
Lori E Lowes, Alison L Allan

Abstract

The majority of cancer-related deaths result from metastasis, the process by which cancer cells escape the primary tumor site and enter into the blood circulation in order to disseminate to secondary locations throughout the body. Tumor cells found within the circulation are referred to as circulating tumor cells (CTCs), and their detection and enumeration correlate with poor prognosis. The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a dynamic process that imparts epithelial cells with mesenchymal-like properties, thus facilitating tumor cell dissemination and contributing to metastasis. However, EMT also results in the downregulation of various epithelial proteins typically utilized by CTC technologies for enrichment and detection of these rare cells, resulting in reduced detection of some CTCs, potentially those with a more metastatic phenotype. In addition to the current clinical role of CTCs as a prognostic biomarker, they also have potential as a predictive biomarker via CTC characterization. However, CTC characterization is complicated by the unknown biological significance of CTCs possessing an EMT-like phenotype, and the ability to capture and understand this CTC subpopulation is an essential step in the utilization o...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Biological Markers
Tumor Cells, Uncertain Whether Benign or Malignant
Neoplastic Cell
Squamous Transitional Epithelial Cell Count
Primary Neoplasm
Cessation of Life
Neoplasms
Tumor Markers
Embolism, Tumor
Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition

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