Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Revisiting the need to detect circulating tumor cells

One of the most dangerous characteristics of cancer is its ability to metastasize, or spread through the body. For this reason, oncologists have a major need for better tests to detect cells that break away from primary tumors to travel to other parts of the body.

Effective identification of these cells, referred to as circulating tumor cells (CTC's), could help guide treatment and improve quality of life for many cancer patients. A commentary in the March 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association assesses the existing technology available to detect these cells and points to the need for still more progress in this area.

"The topic of circulating tumor cells has become more and more important as our knowledge of cancer and, in particular, breast cancer has evolved and as the technology to detect these cells has improved," says Massimo Cristofanilli, M.D., F.A.C.P., chair of the department of medical oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center and lead author of the commentary. "But even though progress has been made, we need even better capabilities to detect these cells, which can tell us so much about the course of a patient's cancer."

Currently there is only one standardized and validated test approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the detection of CTC's, called the CellSearchTM system. CellSearch is a simple blood test that captures and assesses CTC's to determine the prognosis of patients with metastatic breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer at any time. This test, however, is only able to count CTC's and therefore additional technologies are being explored to capture more cells, different populations of the cells, and the gene expression patterns of the cells.

"It's important for us to look at all of these technologies in a more critical way to see which technologies are best at distinguishing between cells that have simply been shed by the tumor and those that are, instead demonstrating more aggressive," says Cristofanilli.

Using technologies that complement one another may also help improve the process of detecting these cells and design more personalized therapies. "For example, with inflammatory breast cancer we know that one technology alone will not help in detecting these cells," says Cristofanilli. "This doesn't mean they aren't there, it just means we aren't able to see them. It's like using a camera—by using full color, rather than black and white, you're able to see more distinct details."

Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of the leading cancer research and treatments centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation's first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center's nursing program has received the Magnet status for excellence three consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. For more information, visit Fox Chase's web site at or call 1-888-FOX-CHASE or 1-888-369-2427.

Diana Quattrone | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Cancer breast cancer circulating tumor cells tumor cells

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>