Capturing circulating tumor cells of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Early metastases of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) may be detected by the isolation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the bloodstream. During the course of therapeutic attempts, monitoring CTC changes in patients with HCC is helpful for the efficacy assessment. Nevertheless, the markers used for the detection, such as α-feto protein, asialoglycoprotein receptor or epithelial cell adhesion molecule, CD133 or CD90, are not specific for HCC CTCs. In spite of these limitations, a timely determination of the existence of CTCs will be beneficial for the monitoring of distant metastases, the evaluation of therapeutic attempts, and the prediction of prognosis.