The American Cancer Society has estimated that in 2003, there will be approximately 239,600 new cases of urologic cancer diagnosed and 54,600 urologic cancer-related deaths in the United States. To date, the majority of research and therapy design have focused on the microenvironment of the primary tumor site, as well as the microenvironment of the metastatic or secondary (target) tumor site. Little attention has been placed on the interactions of the circulating tumor cells and the microenvironment of the circulation (i.e., the third microenvironment). The purpose of this review is to present the methods for the detection and isolation of circulating tumor cells and to discuss the importance of circulating tumor cells in the biology and treatment of urologic cancers.
Copyright 2004 Neoplasia Press, Inc.