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Abstract

Volume 21, Issue 1 (January 2019) 21, 24–31; 10.4103/aja.aja_29_17

Circulating tumor cells and their role in prostate cancer

Moritz Maas, Miriam Hegemann, Steffen Rausch, Jens Bedke, Arnulf Stenzl, Tilman Todenhöfer

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

Correspondence: Dr. A Stenzl (urologie@med.uni‐tuebingen.de)

Date of Submission 08-Feb-2017 Date of Acceptance 02-Jun-2017 Date of Web Publication 22-Aug-2017

Abstract

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.

Keywords: AR-V7; biomarker; cell-free DNA; cfDNA; circulating tumor cells; ctDNA; liquid biopsy; prostate cancer

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