Clinical value of circulating endothelial cell detection in oncology

Drug Discov Today. 2012 Jul;17(13-14):710-7. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2012.01.011. Epub 2012 Jan 24.


Given the importance of tumor vasculature in tumor biology and as a target for treatment, there is an increasing need for biomarkers that reflect effects impacting tumor vasculature accurately. Circulating endothelial cells (CECs) increase in number as a result of vascular damage in cancer and several other diseases. CEC count constitutes a promising tool for monitoring disease activity with potential to assess prognosis and response to treatment. Here, we address the current state-of-the-art of CEC enumeration as a biomarker in clinical oncology. We focus on technical issues concerning CEC detection, review results from clinical studies and explore future potential applications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / blood
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Endothelial Cells / immunology
  • Endothelial Cells / pathology*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunomagnetic Separation
  • Medical Oncology*
  • Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Neoplasms / blood*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating / immunology
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating / pathology*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / blood*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy
  • Predictive Value of Tests


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor