Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are considered to be evading cancer cells that have been shed or actively invaded from the primary tumor into the blood circulation or lymphatic system and which may finally extravasate to found metastases. CTCs as “liquid biopsy” hold great promise to be a powerful non-invasive real-time measurable biomarker for predicting clinical outcomes and cancer treatment response. Several studies evaluated the role of CTC presence and count in the neoadjuvant and adjuvant setting of early breast cancer (EBC) and revealed their significant prognostic value. In this chapter, we highlight the clinical relevance of CTCs in early breast cancer (EBC) and state the urgency for further research in this field to definitely translate this marker from bench to bedside.
Part of the book: Breast Cancer and Surgery