Considerations in the development of circulating tumor cell technology for clinical use

J Transl Med. 2012 Jul 2:10:138. doi: 10.1186/1479-5876-10-138.


This manuscript summarizes current thinking on the value and promise of evolving circulating tumor cell (CTC) technologies for cancer patient diagnosis, prognosis, and response to therapy, as well as accelerating oncologic drug development. Moving forward requires the application of the classic steps in biomarker development-analytical and clinical validation and clinical qualification for specific contexts of use. To that end, this review describes methods for interactive comparisons of proprietary new technologies, clinical trial designs, a clinical validation qualification strategy, and an approach for effectively carrying out this work through a public-private partnership that includes test developers, drug developers, clinical trialists, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the US National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Publication types

  • Review
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor