CTCs in early breast cancer: A path worth taking

Roberta Maltoni, Giulia Gallerani, Pietro Fici, Andrea Rocca, Francesco Fabbri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are cellular elements of undeniable significance that spread from the tumor mass into the peripheral blood and constitute one of the main vehicles for disease diffusion. Their rarity, in addition to a number of molecular and cellular features, has severely impaired research and exploitation. CTCs have been evaluated in early breast cancer (EBC), although long from being fully accepted in this field also due to a lack of technical standardization. CTCs hold promise to be a powerful non-invasive real-time measurable biomarker in all disease stages. This hypothesis is particularly appealing in the adjuvant setting of breast cancer, as it still lacks a marker that could play a central role in monitoring disease-free intervals, predicting early relapse and guiding drug selection. This review aimed to discuss CTC characteristics and show the main results of CTC-research in EBC setting, stating the urgency to continue basic and translational research in this field to definitely translate this marker from bench to bedside.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-210
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Circulating tumor cells
  • Clinical evidence
  • Early breast cancer
  • Liquid biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'CTCs in early breast cancer: A path worth taking'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this