The global circulating tumor cell market size was valued at around USD 8.9 billion in 2019 and is projected to witness a CAGR of 13.2% during the forecast period. A number of potential applications of circulating tumor cells in prediagnosis, pretreatment, and intra and post-treatment provide lucrative growth opportunities to players involved in the development of circulating tumor cell (CTC) enrichment and isolation products. In addition, increased demand for efficient diagnostic and screening tests and technological advancements in cancer detection is expected to propel the growth of market for CTCs.
Several tumor markers that have been introduced in recent years can be used with companion diagnostics to monitor or diagnose a variety of cancers. High adoption of companion diagnostics in monitoring tumor eradication characteristics of cytotoxic drugs is among the few factors propelling the demand in the market for CTCs. Key stakeholders are constantly engaged in endeavors aimed at developing circulating tumor cells based tests, which can prove helpful in the cancer diagnosis.
Concerns related to the reliability and consistency of isolation as well as the relationship between quantitation of this biomarker and cancer prognosis are limiting factors affecting the clinical utility of this biomarker. Although there is a wide availability of several benchtop instruments for analysis and delineating circulating tumor cells from other blood cells, it is difficult to characterize these cells due to substantial phenotypes exhibited by these cells.
Furthermore, this biomarker has long been a subject of academic research, but the difficulty of centralizing the know-how and technologies has obscured the path to commercialization as many universities and private companies have developed their own expertise. However, recent years have seen a drive toward practical application, majorly due to a wave of acquisitions by large players centralizing the technology and numerous tie-ups with pharmaceutical companies to make progress toward forming a value chain and accelerate market growth.
The ongoing technological advancements in chip technology are another key factor driving the growth of the circulating tumor cell market. As per the research study published in April 2019, researchers from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts, developed a chip made of carbon nanotubes that help overcome the challenges pertaining to capturing and analysis of these cells. Furthermore, increasing preference for companion diagnostics is also responsible for the high demand for circulating tumor cell detection assays.
An effective enrichment process helps in the enhancement of sensitivity, selectivity, and yield, thereby ensuring successful clinical translation of this field. The availability of different methods for the enrichment of circulating tumor cells in cancer detection is expected to significantly impact segment growth over the forecast period. Different detection techniques include magnetic beads-based enrichment, centrifugal force, filtration, and other physical properties such as size, density, deformity, and electric charges.
Advancements in technologies such as immunofluorescence, NGS, FISH, and qPCR are anticipated to drive the clinical utility of these cells, and thus accelerating revenue growth for circulating tumor cell analyses. Several companies are investing in the development of products that help in circulating tumor cell analysis and downstream assays. For instance, Vortex Biosciences offers various circulating tumor cell analysis products, including immunofluorescence, cytopathology, cytogenetics (FISH), cell culture, and genomics.
Currently, circulating tumor cells based screening and monitoring methods are at the nascent stage. A substantial number of commercial liquid biopsy tests are based on cell-free DNA (cfDNA), which has hampered the clinical utility of these cells-based tests. The dominance of cfDNA over circulating tumor cell in cancer diagnosis has led to the less share of clinical application in the market. Nonetheless, the presence of circulating tumor cells in the bloodstream indicates a risk of metastatic spread and the existence of a tumor.
Owing to the noninvasiveness and real-time advantages of circulating tumor cell screening, several companies, and research groups are undertaking initiatives to expand the application of tumor cells in clinical settings. For instance, in September 2019, Bioloidics Limited collaborated with Genome Institute of Singapore of the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR) for the development of circulating tumor cell assay, using Bioloidics’s ClearCell FX1 technology.
This arena has significantly improved the cancer studies, thus, products offered in the market for CTCs are primarily designed to be used within research settings. Some key products that have contributed to the large share of research settings are Parsortix Technology, Target Selector Platform, Apostream, Celsee PREP 400, IsoFlux CTC system, DEPArray System, VTX-1, and AdnaTest.
Companies in this sector can be categorized into several broad categories-companies that provide systems and platforms for capturing tumor cells, independent laboratories, and companies that provide downstream analysis services, and blood collection tube or accessories providers. The devices or systems segment accounted for the largest share in the market for CTCs.
This can be attributed to the presence of a wide portfolio under this category coupled with upcoming advances with regard to microfluidics technology. The development of automated instruments that eliminates the use of additional blood collection tubes hampers the revenue growth of blood collection tubes.
On the other hand, kits and reagents have also contributed significantly to the revenue due to the frequent purchase rate and high usage rate. Several cancer cell lines have been tested by a group of researchers using kits offered in the space owing to ease-of-use and the resultant product of label-free viable cells that are subsequently used in downstream analysis.
A large concentration of these cells in blood samples as compared with other bio specimens is responsible for the largest penetration of this specimen type in 2019. Approaches for tumor cells identification in blood samples is considered important in current cancer research, as it aids in the prediction of prognosis and determination of the response to systemic chemotherapy. However, the use of whole blood as a specimen poses a challenge when combined with microfluidic technology.
Membrane clogging as a result of a high concentration of blood cells minimizes the applicability of whole blood samples in microfluidic-based circulating tumor cell enumeration. Devices with various pore shapes and sizes are anticipated to overcome this issue and drive the segment in the coming years. Moreover, the development of fluid-assisted separation technology by Clinomics, a molecular laboratory based in Bloemfontein, Free State can be employed for efficient detection of these cells.
Over the past few years, a substantial number of research activities have been conducted on Disseminated Tumor Cells (DTCs), circulating tumor cells that reside in permissive target tissues, and the number of such research activities is expected to increase exponentially in the coming years. Moreover, the emergence of high throughput techniques has effectively accelerated the detection of genome variation among these cells, thereby driving the segment at a significant pace throughout the forecast period.
The continued growth of the market for CTCs in North America can be attributed to the presence of active players such as Advanced Cell Diagnostics; Apocell, Inc.; Aviva Biosciences; Biocept, Inc.; Biofluidica, Inc.; and CellTraffix, Inc. in the region. These players are undertaking various strategies to enhance their market hold, which can be attributed to the large share of the U.S. market for CTCs.
For instance, in November 2019, Biocept, Inc. launched the Target Selector pan-TRK assay to identify TRK proteins. This assay is based on the company’s circulating tumor cell platform to detect TRK gene alterations from the blood sample. Such initiatives have increased the availability of cost-effective, noninvasive biomarker tests for cancer detection in the country.
Furthermore, the presence of a population with high susceptibility to cancer, an increase in market penetration rates, and technologically advanced cancer care infrastructure are some of the key factors accounting for its large share. On the other hand, Asia Pacific is projected to grow at a lucrative rate due to high unmet diagnostic needs and rapidly growing patient awareness regarding early detection of cancer and risk assessment.
The market for CTCs is consolidated with several emerging as well as established players. Greiner Bio One International GmbH; QIAGEN; Bio-Techne Corporation; Menarini Silicon Biosystems; Sysmex Corporation; and Biocept, Inc. are some key established players whereas BioFluidica, Rarecells Diagnostics; ScreenCell; Miltenyi Biotec; and Fluxion Biosciences, Inc. are recognized as emerging players.
The market for CTCs is witnessing high competition among both public and private firms. The players are adopting several measures to sustain market competition with the changing trends which exerts a positive impact on the overall market for CTCs. The companies are collaborating with other market players to gain a competitive advantage in the space.
For instance, in November 2019, Biolidics Limited signed an agreement with Sysmex Corporation to develop a laboratory-developed test for the diagnosis of cancer. Since 2016, the companies collaborated for R&D of laboratory assays in this field by using ClearCell FX1 System along with Sysmex’s MI-FCM, a molecular imaging flow cytometer. This extension in collaboration helped the company expand its product portfolio.
Base year for estimation
Actual estimates/Historical data
2016 - 2018
2020 - 2027
Revenue in USD Million and CAGR from 2020 to 2027
North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East & Africa
U.S., Canada, Germany, U.K., France, Spain, Italy, China, Japan, India, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, UAE
Revenue forecast, company share, competitive landscape, growth factors and trends
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This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub segments from 2016 to 2027. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global circulating tumor cell market on the basis of technology, application, product, specimen, and region:
Technology Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)
CTC Detection & Enrichment Methods
Size-based Separation (Label-free)
Density-based Separation (Label-free)
Combined Methods (Label-free)
CTC Direct Detection Methods
Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)
Screening and Monitoring
Cancer Stem Cell & Tumorigenesis Research
Product Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)
Kits & Reagents
Blood Collection Tubes
Devices or Systems
Specimen Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)
Other Body Fluids
Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)
Middle East & Africa
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