We review our dual-modality technique for quantitative imaging and selective depletion of populations of cells based on wide-field photothermal (PT) quantitative phase imaging and simultaneous PT cell extermination. The cells are first labeled by plasmonic gold nanoparticles, which evoke local plasmonic resonance when illuminated by light in a wavelength corresponding to their specific plasmonic resonance peak. This reaction creates changes of temperature, resulting in changes of phase. This phase changes are recorded by a quantitative phase microscope (QPM), producing specific imaging contrast, and enabling bio-labeling in phase microscopy. Using this technique, we have shown discrimination of EGFR over-expressing (EGFR+) cancer cells from EGFR under-expressing (EGFR-) cancer cells. Then, we have increased the excitation power in order to evoke greater temperatures, which caused specific cell death, all under real-time phase acquisition using QPM. Close to 100% of all EGFR+ cells were immediately exterminated when illuminated with the strong excitation beam, while all EGFR-cells survived. For the second experiment, in order to simulate a condition where circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are present in blood, we have mixed the EGFR+ cancer cells with white blood cells (WBCs) from a healthy donor. Here too, we have used QPM to observe and record the phase of the cells as they were excited for selective visualization and then exterminated. The WBCs survival rate was over 95%, while the EGFR+ survival rate was under 5%. The technique may be the basis for real-time detection and controlled treatment of CTCs.