Clinical and Translational Oncology

, Volume 18, Issue 8, pp 749–759 | Cite as

Review: circulating tumor cells in the practice of breast cancer oncology

  • R. Ramos-MedinaEmail author
  • F. Moreno
  • S. Lopez-Tarruella
  • M. del Monte-Millán
  • I. Márquez-Rodas
  • E. Durán
  • Y. Jerez
  • J. A. Garcia-Saenz
  • I. Ocaña
  • S. Andrés
  • T. Massarrah
  • M. González-Rivera
  • M. Martin
Review Article


The primary cause of tumor-related death in breast cancer is still represented by distant metastasization. The dissemination of tumor cells from the primary tumor to distant sites through bloodstream cannot be early detected by standard imaging methods. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) play a major role in the metastatic spread of breast cancer. Different analytical systems for CTCs isolation and detection have been developed and novel areas of research are directed towards developing assays for CTCs molecular characterization. This review describes the current state of art on CTCs detection techniques and the present and future clinical implications of CTCs enumeration and characterization.


Circulating tumor cells Markers Detection Enumeration Clinical applications 



This study was supported by funds from FEDER (RTICC-RD12/0036/0076 and RD12/0036/0006).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author(s) declare that they have no conflict of interests.


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Copyright information

© Federación de Sociedades Españolas de Oncología (FESEO) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Ramos-Medina
    • 1
    Email author
  • F. Moreno
    • 2
  • S. Lopez-Tarruella
    • 3
  • M. del Monte-Millán
    • 3
  • I. Márquez-Rodas
    • 3
  • E. Durán
    • 1
  • Y. Jerez
    • 3
  • J. A. Garcia-Saenz
    • 2
  • I. Ocaña
    • 1
  • S. Andrés
    • 1
  • T. Massarrah
    • 4
  • M. González-Rivera
    • 1
  • M. Martin
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratory of Translational OncologyInstituto de Investigación Sanitaria Gregorio Marañón (IiSGM)MadridSpain
  2. 2.Medical Oncology DepartmentHospital Clínico San CarlosMadridSpain
  3. 3.Medical Oncology Service, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio MarañónInstituto de Investigación Sanitaria Gregorio Marañón (IiSGM)MadridSpain
  4. 4.Clinical Research UnitInstituto de Investigación Sanitaria Gregorio MarañónMadridSpain

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