Mobile Site ›

Test Catalog

Test ID: CTCP    
Circulating Tumor Cells (CTC) for Prostate Cancer by CellSearch, Blood

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Aids in monitoring patients with metastatic prostate cancer

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer claims approximately 28,000 lives each year, the vast majority of which are a result of metastatic disease. Although there are many options for the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer, oncologists often have to wait several months after initiation of treatment before they can determine if the treatment is beneficial to the patient.


The CellSearch System identifies and enumerates the number of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in a blood specimen.(1) Studies suggest that the number of CTCs is associated with progression-free and overall survival in patients with metastatic prostate cancer.(2,3)

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

An interpretive report will be provided.

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

Results are reported as favorable or unfavorable. In patients with metastatic prostate cancer, the finding of > or =5 circulating tumor cells/7.5 mL of blood is predictive of shorter progression-free survival and overall survival.(2)

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

This test is FDA approved only for monitoring prostate cancer patients with metastatic disease and is not suitable for monitoring prostate cancer patients with nonmetastatic disease.


The CellSearch System is FDA approved for breast and colon cancer.

-For breast cancer patients, order CTCBC / Circulating Tumor Cells (CTC) for Breast Cancer by CellSearch, Blood.

-For colon cancer patients, order CTCCC / Circulating Tumor Cells (CTC) for Colorectal Cancer by CellSearch, Blood.


Patients on doxorubicin (Adriamvcin) must wait a minimum of 7 days after administration before blood can be drawn for this test.


Blood specimens must be drawn into a CellSave tube and processed in the laboratory within 96 hours of draw.


This test does not provide information about the primary site of a tumor.


This test does not predict whether patients with unfavorable results will have better clinical outcomes if switched to alternative treatment regiments.


Interfering substances may cause the ferrofluid reagent to aggregate, which may compromise results. The analysis process may not be able to detect all CTCs in the sample.

Clinical Reference Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Allard WJ, Matera J, Miller MC, et al: Tumor cells circulate in the peripheral blood of all major carcinomas but not in healthy subjects or patients with nonmalignant diseases. Clin Cancer Res 2004 Oct;10:6897-6904

2. deBono JS, Scher HI, Montgomery RB, et al: Circulating tumor cells predict survival benefit from treatment in the metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Clin Cancer Res 2008 October 1;14(19):6302-6309

3. Danila DC, Heller G, Gignac GA, et al: Circulating tumor cell number and prognosis in progressive castration-resistant prostate cancer. Clin Cancer Res 2007 December 1;13(23):7053-7058

Special Instructions and Forms Describes specimen collection and preparation information, test algorithms, and other information pertinent to test. Also includes pertinent information and consent forms to be used when requesting a particular test