The current role of circulating tumor cells in the diagnosis and management of bone metastases in advanced prostate cancer

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Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) has been used for over two decades as a serum marker for adenocarcinoma of the prostate. Although PSA screening remains an important part of disease screening and monitoring in early prostate cancer (PC), its utility in monitoring disease progression in advanced PC is undetermined. Furthermore, the role of PSA monitoring in the management of patients with PC and bone metastases appears limited. The purpose of this review is to evaluate the role of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) as potential novel biomarkers in advanced PC. We present a review of CTC testing and the clinical data supporting the prognostic potential of CTCs in this setting. We propose that combination of CTCs and PSA velocity or doubling-time assessments may offer insights into the prognosis and management of advanced PC.

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