Circulating tumor cells

Last revised by David Luong on 27 Jul 2021

Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) refers to cells that have shed into the bloodstream or lymphatics from a primary tumor. They are thought to constitute "seeds" for the subsequent development of metastases.

History and etymology

They were first observed in blood in a patient with metastatic cancer by Thomas Ashworth in 1869.

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.