Dissemination of Circulating Tumor Cells in Breast and Prostate Cancer: Implications for Early Detection

Song Yi Bae, Kaylee Judith Kamalanathan, Catalina Galeano-Garces, Badrinath R. Konety, Emmanuel S. Antonarakis, Jayant Parthasarathy, Jiarong Hong, Justin M. Drake

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Burgeoning evidence suggests that circulating tumor cells (CTCs) may disseminate into blood vessels at an early stage, seeding metastases in various cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. Simultaneously, the early-stage CTCs that settle in metastatic sites [termed disseminated tumor cells (DTCs)] can enter dormancy, marking a potential source of late recurrence and therapy resistance. Thus, the presence of these early CTCs poses risks to patients but also holds potential benefits for early detection and treatment and opportunities for possibly curative interventions. This review delves into the role of early DTCs in driving latent metastasis within breast and prostate cancer, emphasizing the importance of early CTC detection in these diseases. We further explore the correlation between early CTC detection and poor prognoses, which contribute significantly to increased cancer mortality. Consequently, the detection of CTCs at an early stage emerges as a critical imperative for enhancing clinical diagnostics and allowing for early interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberbqae022
JournalEndocrinology (United States)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2024

Bibliographical note

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© 2024 Endocrine Society. All rights reserved.


  • breast cancer
  • circulating tumor cells
  • early detection
  • prostate cancer
  • tumor dormancy

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