The therapeutic landscape of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) has drastically changed over the past decade with the advent of several new anti-tumor agents. Oncologists increasingly face dilemmas concerning the best treatment sequence for individual patients since most of the novel compounds have been investigated and subsequently positioned either pre- or post-docetaxel. A currently unmet need exists for biomarkers able to guide treatment decisions and to capture treatment resistance at an early stage thereby allowing for an early change to an alternative strategy. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have in this context intensively been investigated over the last years. The CTC count, as determined by the CellSearch System (Janssen Diagnostics LLC, Raritan, NJ), is a strong, independent prognostic factor for overall survival in patients with mCRPC at various time points during treatment and, as an early response marker, outperforms traditional response evaluations using serum prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels, scintigraphy as well as radiography. The focus of research is now shifting toward the predictive value of CTCs and the use of the characterization of CTCs to guide the selection of treatments with the highest chance of success for individual patients. Recently, the presence of the androgen receptor splice variant 7 (AR-V7) has been shown to be a promising predictive factor. In this review, we have explored the clinical value of the enumeration and characterization of CTCs for the treatment of mCRPC and have put the results obtained from recent studies investigating the prognostic and predictive value of CTCs into clinical perspective.

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Cancer Treatment Reviews
Department of Medical Oncology

Onstenk, W., de Klaver, W., de Wit, R., Lolkema, M., Foekens, J., & Sleijfer, S. (2016). The use of circulating tumor cells in guiding treatment decisions for patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Cancer Treatment Reviews (Vol. 46, pp. 42–50). doi:10.1016/j.ctrv.2016.04.001