Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have been identified as one of the ultrasensitive liquid biopsy for real-time monitoring cancer patients. The CTCs detection in peripheral blood from cancer patients has brought the hope, but still facing serious challenge on its specificity and sensitivity. Here, we review the significant roles of CTCs in metastasis, and the strength and weakness of currently available methods for CTCs detection and characterization. Moreover, we mainly discuss the clinical application of CTCs such as markers for patients' prognosis prediction, and we specifically focus on the application of CTCs as indicators in cancer pharmacotherapy. Characterization of the detected CTCs will provide new and clear biological perspectives and clinical implication on cancer patients with metastasis.
- The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics