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Circulating Tumor Cells: Moving Biological Insights into Detection

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Theranostics

Ivyspring International Publisher

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      Abstract

      Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have shown promising potential as liquid biopsies that facilitate early detection, prognosis, therapeutic target selection and monitoring treatment response. CTCs in most cancer patients are low in abundance and heterogeneous in morphological and phenotypic profiles, which complicate their enrichment and subsequent characterization. Several methodologies for CTC enrichment and characterization have been developed over the past few years. However, integrating recent advances in CTC biology into these methodologies and the selection of appropriate enrichment and characterization methods for specific applications are needed to improve the reliability of CTC biopsies. In this review, we summarize recent advances in the studies of CTC biology, including the mechanisms of their generation and their potential forms of existence in blood, as well as the current CTC enrichment technologies. We then critically examine the selection of methods for appropriately enriching CTCs for further investigation of their clinical applications.

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      Most cited references 153

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      Epithelial-mesenchymal transitions in development and disease.

      The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays crucial roles in the formation of the body plan and in the differentiation of multiple tissues and organs. EMT also contributes to tissue repair, but it can adversely cause organ fibrosis and promote carcinoma progression through a variety of mechanisms. EMT endows cells with migratory and invasive properties, induces stem cell properties, prevents apoptosis and senescence, and contributes to immunosuppression. Thus, the mesenchymal state is associated with the capacity of cells to migrate to distant organs and maintain stemness, allowing their subsequent differentiation into multiple cell types during development and the initiation of metastasis.
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        The epithelial-mesenchymal transition generates cells with properties of stem cells.

        The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a key developmental program that is often activated during cancer invasion and metastasis. We here report that the induction of an EMT in immortalized human mammary epithelial cells (HMLEs) results in the acquisition of mesenchymal traits and in the expression of stem-cell markers. Furthermore, we show that those cells have an increased ability to form mammospheres, a property associated with mammary epithelial stem cells. Independent of this, stem cell-like cells isolated from HMLE cultures form mammospheres and express markers similar to those of HMLEs that have undergone an EMT. Moreover, stem-like cells isolated either from mouse or human mammary glands or mammary carcinomas express EMT markers. Finally, transformed human mammary epithelial cells that have undergone an EMT form mammospheres, soft agar colonies, and tumors more efficiently. These findings illustrate a direct link between the EMT and the gain of epithelial stem cell properties.
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          Cancer genome landscapes.

          Over the past decade, comprehensive sequencing efforts have revealed the genomic landscapes of common forms of human cancer. For most cancer types, this landscape consists of a small number of "mountains" (genes altered in a high percentage of tumors) and a much larger number of "hills" (genes altered infrequently). To date, these studies have revealed ~140 genes that, when altered by intragenic mutations, can promote or "drive" tumorigenesis. A typical tumor contains two to eight of these "driver gene" mutations; the remaining mutations are passengers that confer no selective growth advantage. Driver genes can be classified into 12 signaling pathways that regulate three core cellular processes: cell fate, cell survival, and genome maintenance. A better understanding of these pathways is one of the most pressing needs in basic cancer research. Even now, however, our knowledge of cancer genomes is sufficient to guide the development of more effective approaches for reducing cancer morbidity and mortality.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota, 801 16th Ave NE, Austin, Minnesota 55912
            Author notes
            ✉ Corresponding author: Email: zgdong@ 123456hi.umn.edu Telephone: 507-437-9615 Fax: 507-437-9606

            Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interest exists.

            Journal
            Theranostics
            Theranostics
            thno
            Theranostics
            Ivyspring International Publisher (Sydney )
            1838-7640
            2017
            25 June 2017
            : 7
            : 10
            : 2606-2619
            5558556
            10.7150/thno.18588
            thnov07p2606
            © Ivyspring International Publisher

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). See http://ivyspring.com/terms for full terms and conditions.

            Categories
            Review

            Molecular medicine

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