Analysis of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) has shown significant promise as a prognostic marker in patients with advanced malignancies. Comparatively little data have been published on CTC analysis in early stage malignancies. We hypothesized that since dissemination of tumor cells via the circulation is required for the establishment of metastases, CTC analysis could be a useful biomarker for identification of early stage patients likely to develop distant recurrence. To begin to test this hypothesis, we set out to examine the feasibility of CTC analysis in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR).
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