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Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 160, Issue 3, pp 411–424 | Cite as

Circulating tumor cells in breast cancer: applications in personalized medicine

  • Jin Sun Lee
  • Mark Jesus M. Magbanua
  • John W. Park
Review

Abstract

Recent technological advancements in rare cell analysis have facilitated the detection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the blood of patients diagnosed with breast and other types of cancers. Numerous clinical studies involving the enumeration of CTCs in breast cancer patients have unequivocally demonstrated the prognostic value of these cells. Evidence from recent molecular studies indicates that CTCs may be potential surrogate markers for systemic disease. As such, real-time assessment of therapeutic biomarkers in breast CTCs, such as the estrogen receptor (ER) and the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), may have a tremendous impact in guiding-targeted cancer therapy. In this review, we discuss the clinical implications of CTC detection and its potential utility for personalized medicine in breast cancer.

Keywords

Breast cancer Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) Personalized medicine HER2 Estrogen receptor 

Abbreviations

CTC

Circulating tumor cell

ER

Estrogen receptor

HER2

Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2

EPCAM

Epithelial cell adhesion molecule

ICC

Immunocytochemistry

CK

Cytokeratin

IF

Immunofluorescence

IE/FC

Immunomagnetic enrichment/flow cytometry

MBC

Metastatic breast cancer

RT-PCR

Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction

OS

Overall survival

PFS

Progression-free survival

DFS

Disease-free survival

TTP

Time-to-progression

IHC

Immunohistochemistry

FISH

Fluorescence in situ hybridization

EGFR

Epidermal growth factor receptor

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Andrea T. Kablanian for critical review of the manuscript.

Funding

This effort was funded in part by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

JWP received honorarium and research funding (through the Regents of the University of California) from Veridex and Siemens Healthcare Diagnostic. JSL and MJMM declare that they have no conflict interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

For this type of study, formal consent is not required. This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jin Sun Lee
    • 1
  • Mark Jesus M. Magbanua
    • 1
  • John W. Park
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Hematology/Oncology, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer CenterUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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