Prognostic and predictive roles for circulating biomarkers in gastrointestinal cancer

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Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and circulating free DNA (cfDNA) have been studied as promising prognostic and predictive tumor-derived biomarkers in the bloodstream of patients with gastrointestinal malignancies because they may be an alternative noninvasive tool to tumor tissue biopsies. Quantification and molecular characterization of CTCs and cfDNA may provide additional insights into cancer biology, potentially revealing novel targets to individualize cancer care. The present article aims to review the biology and current methods to assess CTCs and cfDNA, and the efforts to establish both tumor-derived biomarkers as prognostic and predictive factors in esophageal, gastric and colorectal cancer.

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