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Circulating tumor cells and their role in prostate cancer


Department of Urology, University Hospital Tuebingen, Hoppe-Seyler-Straße 3, Tuebingen 72076, Germany

Correspondence Address:
Arnulf Stenzl,
Department of Urology, University Hospital Tuebingen, Hoppe Seyler Straße 3, Tuebingen 72076, Germany

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

Circulating tumor cells (CTC) have become an important biomarker in patients with advanced prostate cancer. CTC count has been demonstrated to be a prognostic factor for overall survival in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). In localized prostate cancer, a clear correlation between CTC counts and clinicopathological risk parameters and outcome has not been observed. Currently, the focus of research is shifting from CTC enumeration towards molecular characterization of CTC leading to the discovery of markers predicting treatment response. The role of androgen receptor splice variants expressed by CTC as markers of resistance to abiraterone and enzalutamide has been assessed by various studies. The identification of CTC markers predicting treatment response represents a key step to guide the selection of treatment (e.g., abiraterone/enzalutamide vs taxanes), particularly in patients with mCRPC. As an alternative to CTC, the analysis of circulating tumor DNA has been shown to enable a noninvasive disease characterization having high potential to promote precision oncology.


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    -  Maas M
    -  Hegemann M
    -  Rausch S
    -  Bedke J
    -  Stenzl A
    -  Todenhöfer T
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