Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs)

Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) are tumor cells that detach from the primary tumor and travel in the bloodstream, spreading from the original tumor to other locations, leading to cancer metastasis. These cells exist in peripheral blood of cancer patients and detection of CTCs can help to determine the process of metastasis. In contrast with other blood cells, the number of CTCs is very rare in blood which makes them difficult to detect.

Yet developing ways to detect and analyze CTCs in blood is essential, because these cells can assist cancer research as well as clinical management for cancer patients. It plays a crucial role in diagnosis prognosis and monitoring of treatment.

In order to differentiate CTC from all other cells in the blood stream, the following characteristics are used to define CTCs:
  • Cell Markers:
    • Positive: cell-surface vimentin (CSV), EpCAM, Cytokeratin 8, Cytokeratin 18, or Cytokeratin 19
    • Negative: CD45
  • Morphology:
    • Size: at least 4 um x 4 um
    • Intracellular nucleus

Brief Introduction to CTC Research

The first step in conducting CTC research is to effectively isolate CTCs. Several methods are listed below:

  • Morphological methods, based on
    • Gradient density
    • Size
    • Biomorphology (Size & Deformability)
  • Immunological methods, including
    • Immunomagnetic methods
    • Microfluidic devices

CTCs can then be identified based on their characteristics using cytometric and nucleic-acid based approaches:

  • Cytometric methods
    • ICC (Immunocytochemistry )
    • IF (immunofluorescence)
    • FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization)
    • Flow Cytometry
  • Nucleic acid method
    • RT-PCR


CytoQuest™ CR - Circulating Rare Cell Positive Enrichment & Retrieval System

Abnova’s CytoQuest™ CR is a non-invasive system for capture, enumeration, isolation and retrieval of circulating rare cells (CRCs). Three major subtypes of CRCs in translational research and clinical studies are circulating tumor cells (CTCs), circulating progenitor cells (CPCs), and circulating fetal cells (CFCs). A challenge for market adoption of CRCs is the efficient and reproducible identification, single cell isolation, and retrieval of highly pure and viable CRCs, with their applications supported by a wide repertoire of standardized, GMP grade bioreagents.

 More CytoQuest™ CR Information

Product Showcase

Cancer Metastasis Ab   Circulating Tumor Cell Ab
2000+ antibodies targeting proteins related to cancer metastasis. 350+ antibodies for CSV, CD45, cytokeratins and EMT markers.