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      The Role of Circulating Tumor Cells in the Metastatic Cascade: Biology, Technical Challenges, and Clinical Relevance

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          Abstract

          Metastases and cancer recurrence are the main causes of cancer death. Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) and disseminated tumor cells are the drivers of cancer cell dissemination. The assessment of CTCs’ clinical role in early metastasis prediction, diagnosis, and treatment requires more information about their biology, their roles in cancer dormancy, and immune evasion as well as in therapy resistance. Indeed, CTC functional and biochemical phenotypes have been only partially characterized using murine metastasis models and liquid biopsy in human patients. CTC detection, characterization, and enumeration represent a promising tool for tailoring the management of each patient with cancer. The comprehensive understanding of CTCs will provide more opportunities to determine their clinical utility. This review provides much-needed insights into this dynamic field of translational cancer research.

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          Most cited references 151

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          Tumor cells circulate in the peripheral blood of all major carcinomas but not in healthy subjects or patients with nonmalignant diseases.

          The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy, precision, and linearity of the CellSearch system and evaluate the number of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) per 7.5 mL of blood in healthy subjects, patients with nonmalignant diseases, and patients with a variety of metastatic carcinomas. The CellSearch system was used to enumerate CTCs in 7.5 mL of blood. Blood samples spiked with cells from tumor cell lines were used to establish analytical accuracy, reproducibility, and linearity. Prevalence of CTCs was determined in blood from 199 patients with nonmalignant diseases, 964 patients with metastatic carcinomas, and 145 healthy donors. Enumeration of spiked tumor cells was linear over the range of 5 to 1,142 cells, with an average recovery of >/=85% at each spike level. Only 1 of the 344 (0.3%) healthy and nonmalignant disease subjects had >/=2 CTCs per 7.5 mL of blood. In 2,183 blood samples from 964 metastatic carcinoma patients, CTCs ranged from 0 to 23,618 CTCs per 7.5 mL (mean, 60 +/- 693 CTCs per 7.5 mL), and 36% (781 of 2,183) of the specimens had >/=2 CTCs. Detection of >/=2 CTCs occurred at the following rates: 57% (107 of 188) of prostate cancers, 37% (489 of 1,316) of breast cancers, 37% (20 of 53) of ovarian cancers, 30% (99 of 333) of colorectal cancers, 20% (34 of 168) of lung cancers, and 26% (32 of 125) of other cancers. The CellSearch system can be standardized across multiple laboratories and may be used to determine the clinical utility of CTCs. CTCs are extremely rare in healthy subjects and patients with nonmalignant diseases but present in various metastatic carcinomas with a wide range of frequencies.
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            Detection of mutations in EGFR in circulating lung-cancer cells.

            The use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors to target the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR) in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer is effective but limited by the emergence of drug-resistance mutations. Molecular characterization of circulating tumor cells may provide a strategy for noninvasive serial monitoring of tumor genotypes during treatment. We captured highly purified circulating tumor cells from the blood of patients with non-small-cell lung cancer using a microfluidic device containing microposts coated with antibodies against epithelial cells. We performed EGFR mutational analysis on DNA recovered from circulating tumor cells using allele-specific polymerase-chain-reaction amplification and compared the results with those from concurrently isolated free plasma DNA and from the original tumor-biopsy specimens. We isolated circulating tumor cells from 27 patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (median number, 74 cells per milliliter). We identified the expected EGFR activating mutation in circulating tumor cells from 11 of 12 patients (92%) and in matched free plasma DNA from 4 of 12 patients (33%) (P=0.009). We detected the T790M mutation, which confers drug resistance, in circulating tumor cells collected from patients with EGFR mutations who had received tyrosine kinase inhibitors. When T790M was detectable in pretreatment tumor-biopsy specimens, the presence of the mutation correlated with reduced progression-free survival (7.7 months vs. 16.5 months, P<0.001). Serial analysis of circulating tumor cells showed that a reduction in the number of captured cells was associated with a radiographic tumor response; an increase in the number of cells was associated with tumor progression, with the emergence of additional EGFR mutations in some cases. Molecular analysis of circulating tumor cells from the blood of patients with lung cancer offers the possibility of monitoring changes in epithelial tumor genotypes during the course of treatment. 2008 Massachusetts Medical Society
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              Every step of the way: integrins in cancer progression and metastasis

              Cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix is fundamental to tissue integrity and human health. Integrins are the main cellular adhesion receptors that through multifaceted roles as signalling molecules, mechanotransducers and key components of the cell migration machinery are implicated in nearly every step of cancer progression from primary tumour development to metastasis. Altered integrin expression is frequently detected in tumours, where integrins have roles in supporting oncogenic growth factor receptor (GFR) signalling and GFR-dependent cancer cell migration and invasion. In addition, integrins determine colonization of metastatic sites and facilitate anchorage-independent survival of circulating tumour cells. Investigations describing integrin engagement with a growing number of versatile cell surface molecules, including channels, receptors and secreted proteins, continue to lead to the identification of novel tumour-promoting pathways. Integrin-mediated sensing, stiffening and remodelling of the tumour stroma are key steps in cancer progression supporting invasion, acquisition of cancer stem cell characteristics and drug resistance. Given the complexity of integrins and their adaptable and sometimes antagonistic roles in cancer cells and the tumour microenvironment, therapeutic targeting of these receptors has been a challenge. However, novel approaches to target integrins and antagonism of specific integrin subunits in stringently stratified patient cohorts are emerging as potential ways forward.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Cancers (Basel)
                Cancers (Basel)
                cancers
                Cancers
                MDPI
                2072-6694
                03 April 2020
                April 2020
                : 12
                : 4
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Stem Cell Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz 51368, Iran; Dianat.hassan@ 123456gmail.com (H.D.-M.); Nourimd@ 123456yahoo.com (M.N.)
                [2 ]Student Research Committee, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz 51368, Iran
                [3 ]Proteomics Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz 51368, Iran; Mehdi.azizi6815@ 123456gmail.com
                [4 ]Laboratory of Rare Human Circulating Cells (LCCRH), University Medical Centre of Montpellier, UPRES, EA2415, 34093 Montpellier, France le-cortes-hernandez@ 123456chu-montpellier.fr (L.E.C.-H.)
                [5 ]Drug Applied Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, 51368 Tabriz, Iran; maryam.heydarifard@ 123456gmail.com
                Author notes
                Article
                cancers-12-00867
                10.3390/cancers12040867
                7225923
                32260071
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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