Physical biology in cancer. 2. The physical biology of circulating tumor cells

Kevin G. Phillips, Peter Kuhn, Owen J.T. McCarty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The identification, isolation, and characterization of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) promises to enhance our understanding of the evolution of cancer in humans. CTCs provide a window into the hematogenous, or "fluid phase," of cancer, underlying the metastatic transition in which a locally contained tumor spreads to other locations in the body through the bloodstream. With the development of sensitive and specific CTC identification and isolation methodologies, the role of CTCs in clinical diagnostics, disease surveillance, and the physical basis of metastasis continues to be established. This review focuses on the quantification of the basic biophysical properties of CTCs and the use of these metrics to understand the hematogenous dissemination of these enigmatic cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C80-C88
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2014


  • Circulating tumor cells
  • Coagulation
  • Fluid biopsy
  • Metastasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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