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Table 2 Clinical relevance of disseminated tumor cells in bone marrow and of circulating tumor cells in blood

From: Micrometastatic spread in breast cancer: detection, molecular characterization and clinical relevance

Disseminated tumor cells
   As a prognostic marker (M0)
   As an indicator for secondary adjuvant therapya
   For optimization of 'secondary' adjuvant therapy based on the genotype and phenoytpe of the disseminated tumor cellsa
Circulating tumor cells
   As a prognostic marker (M1)
   For therapy monitoring (M1) a
   For early therapy response to palliative treatment (M1)a
   For reassessment of therapeutic markers by characterization of circulating tumor cells (real time biopsy)a
  1. a Under evaluation. M0, without overt distant metastases; M1, metastatic disease.