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ESMO E-Learning: The Role of Circulating Tumour Cells (CTCs) in Cancer Management

New E-learning module by Prof Klaus Pantel now available. View the presentation and take the CME test!

Learning objectives

  1. To provide an update on the biology of cancer cells dissemination
  2. To provide an update on non-invasive methods to track the molecular profile of cancer
  3. To elaborate clinical and research applications of circulating tumour cells and circulating tumour DNA in cancer patients

After two years E-Learning modules are no longer considered current. There is therefore no CME test associated with this E-Learning module.

Title Duration Content CME Points CME Test
The Role of Circulating Tumour Cells (CTCs) in Cancer Management 52 min. 43 slides - -

In this E-learning module the author provides a systematic overview of the role of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) and circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) in screening and early detection of cancer, estimation of the risk for metastatic relapse or metastatic progression, stratification and real-time monitoring of therapies, identification of therapeutic targets and resistance mechanisms to biological therapies. Furthermore, it provides essentials in the current understanding of the biology of metastatic development.

New technologies are changing oncology research, not only for cancer researchers but also for patients. Personalised cancer medicine aims to tailor treatments for each individual patient at diagnosis and during treatment. Tumours are highly heterogeneous and evolve over time, making clinical decisions based on tumour tissue biopsies suboptimal. To fully enable personalised cancer medicine, easily accessible, minimally invasive techniques, that can be repeated over time to determine and follow the molecular profile of tumours, have recently emerged.  

Metastases may evolve many years after primary tumour resection and can harbor unique genomic alterations. The biopsy of metastases is an invasive and sometimes dangerous procedure. Furthermore, different metastatic sites show intra-patient heterogeneity. CTCs represent metastatic cells from different sites.

In this module the author elaborates approaches for CTCs detection, prognostic value of CTCs in different tumour types, clinical relevance of CTCs in terms of prediction of therapeutic efficacy, molecular characterisation of CTCs and functional analysis of CTCs. The module also provides a comparative analysis between CTCs and ctDNA.  

By covering issues in different disease statuses (from subclinical to systemic metastases), this Module gives and excellent overview on how to transfer new biological insights in cancer metastases into the clinic. It focuses both on the management of the primary tumour and on treatment of metastases and elaborates on the challenges of identifying high risk patients, early detection of relapse and issues posed by tumour heterogeneity and drug resistance.

This E-Learning module was published in 2017 and expired in 2019.

Last update: 04 Apr 2017

The author has reported research support from Janssen

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