Approximately 20% of men with metastatic castration-sensitive prostate cancer (mCSPC) progress within 1 year of treatment, and biomarkers to identify them up front are lacking. In a randomized phase III trial in men with mCSPC (SWOG S1216), higher baseline circulating tumor cells (CTCs) were prognostic of inferior outcomes. We aimed to validate these findings and interrogate corresponding tumor genomic profiles. Consecutively seen men with newly diagnosed mCSPC undergoing systemic therapy and baseline CTC enumeration by CellSearch assay were included. Gene alterations were determined by comprehensive genomic profiling of tumor tissue by Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments—certified lab. The relationship between categorized CTC counts and both progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) was assessed in the context of Cox proportional hazards models, both unadjusted and adjusted for age, Gleason score, PSA at androgen-deprivation therapy initiation, disease volume, de novo status, treatment intensification, and number of altered genes. Overall, 103 patients were included in the analysis. On multivariate analysis high CTCs (≥ 5 vs. 0) were associated with poorer PFS [HR, 4.52; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.84–11.11; P = 0.001) and OS (HR, 3.59; 95% CI, 0.95–13.57; P = 0.060). Patients with higher CTC counts had a greater number of altered genes and total number of alterations (all P < 0.02). In this article, for the first time, we externally validate the association of higher CTC counts with inferior survival outcomes in men with mCSPC and show a distinct associated tumor genomic landscape. These findings may improve prognostication, patient counseling, and treatment selection in men with mCSPC.

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