Challenges in circulating tumour cell research

Nat Rev Cancer. 2014 Sep;14(9):623-31. doi: 10.1038/nrc3820. Epub 2014 Jul 31.


During the past ten years, circulating tumour cells (CTCs) have received enormous attention as new biomarkers and the subject of basic research. Although CTCs are already used in numerous clinical trials, their clinical utility is still under investigation. Many issues regarding the detection and characterization of CTCs remain unknown. In this Opinion article, we propose a conceptual framework of CTC assays and point out current challenges of CTC research, which might structure this dynamic field of translational cancer research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Proteins / analysis
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Neoplasm Proteins