Department of General Surgery, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People's Hospital, Shanghai, People's Republic of China
Pancreatic cancer has a rather dismal prognosis mainly due to high malignance of tumor biology. Up to now, the relevant researches on pancreatic cancer lag behind seriously partly due to the obstacles for tissue biopsy, which handicaps the understanding of molecular and genetic features of pancreatic cancer. In the last two decades, liquid biopsy, including circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), is promising to provide new insights into the biological and clinical characteristics of malignant tumors. Both CTCs and ctDNA provide an opportunity for studying tumor heterogeneity, drug resistance, and metastatic mechanism for pancreatic cancer. Furthermore, they can also play important roles in detecting early-stage tumors, providing prognostic information, monitoring tumor progression and guiding treatment regimens. In this review, we will introduce the latest findings on biological features and clinical applications of both CTCs and ctDNA in pancreatic cancer. In a word, CTCs and ctDNA are promising to promote precision medicine in pancreatic cancer.
Keywords: Circulating tumor cells, Circulating tumor DNA, Pancreatic cancer, Precision medicine, Metastasis, Drug resistance, Tumor heterogeneity