Circulating tumor cells (CTC) are cells that have detached from primary tumors and circulate in the blood- stream where they are carried to other organs, leading to seeding of new tumors and metastases. CTC have been known to exist in the bloodstream for more than a century. With recent progress in the area of micro- and nanotechnology, it has been possible to adopt new approaches in CTC research. Microscale and nanoscale studies can throw some light on the time course of CTC appearance in blood and CTC over- expression profiles for cancer-related markers and galvanize the development of drugs to block metastases. CTC counts could serve as endpoint biomarkers and as prognostic markers for patients with a metastatic disease. This paper reviews some of the recent researches on using micro- and nanotechnology to capture and profile CTC. © Springer-Verlag 2010.