Circulating tumor cells exhibit a biologically aggressive cancer phenotype accompanied by selective resistance to chemotherapy

Janet M. Pavese, Raymond C. Bergan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


With prostate cancer (PCa), circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) portend a poor clinical prognosis. Their unknown biology precludes rational therapeutic design. We demonstrate that CTC and DTC cell lines, established from mice bearing human PCa orthotopic implants, exhibit increased cellular invasion in vitro, increased metastasis in mice, and express increased epithelial to mesenchymal transition biomarkers. Further, they are selectively resistant to growth inhibition by mitoxantrone-like agents. These findings demonstrate that CTC formation is accompanied by phenotypic progression without obligate reversion. Their increased metastatic potential, selective therapeutic resistance, and differential expression of potential therapeutic targets provide a rational basis to test further interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-186
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014



  • Circulating tumor cells
  • Drug resistance
  • EMT
  • MMP-2
  • Metastasis
  • Prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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