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The study of biological characteristics of CTCs, in contrast to other malignant cells in the primary tumor, suggests new tumor markers with a high predictive value. HER2 overexpression in the tumor leads to enhanced proliferation and angiogenesis and apoptosis regulation disorders. HER2 overexpression in BC was confirmed to be associated with a more aggressive disease course, increased metastatic tumor potential and less favorable prognosis. CTCs were proved to be heterogeneous, as their phenotypic and genotypic characteristics can differ from the primary tumor cells. Taking into account the data of numerous studies, we performed a comparative analysis of biological characteristics of primary tumors and CTCs depending on the presence of HER2/neu receptor expression in patients with locally advanced breast cancer. The study demonstrated that CTCs often differ from primary tumor cells in their biological characteristics; in particular, HER2/neu positive CTCs were obtained from the peripheral blood of patients with HER2-negative primary tumors.
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Keywords: circulating tumor cells, breast cancer