Now, for the first time, a group of scientists have shown that they can also detect CTCs before and after chemotherapy treatment and hence may be able to identify those patients likely to have a recurrence of their cancer after such treatment in future.
Dr. Julia Jückstock, from the University of Munich, Munich, Germany, told a press conference at the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) today (Monday September 24) that the results could help improve the design of trials of chemotherapy in breast cancer, as well as reducing costs to health services.
The team, led by Dr. Brigitte Rack, also from Munich, set out to look at the role of CTCs in blood at the first diagnosis of breast cancer and during adjuvant chemotherapy and endocrine treatment. They analysed blood samples from 1,767 node-positive and high-risk node-negative breast cancer patients before the start of their treatment, and compared the results to those obtained from 852 of the same patients after completion of chemotherapy.
“We found that 10% of patients whose blood was sampled before the start of treatment had more than one CTC, and 5% of these patients had more than two CTCs in approximately 20 ml of blood,” said Dr. Jückstock. The presence of CTCs did not correlate with other prognostic factors such as tumour size, grading, hormonal or Her-2 status, but the scientists did see a significant correlation with the presence of lymph node metastases.
Of 24 healthy individuals used as controls, none showed more than one CTC, said the scientists. Among the 852 patients whose blood was analysed post-treatment, 11% were CTC positive before the start of treatment, while 7% had more than one CTC after completion of chemotherapy.
Of those patients who were initially CTC positive, 10% remained so and 90% had a negative CTC test after chemotherapy. Of those initially CTC negative, 93% remained negative, whereas 7% had a positive CTC result.
The advantage of screening for CTCs is that, unlike other predictive factors, including genetic signatures, it can be carried out after the completion of primary therapy, and, if needed, on other occasions during the duration of disease. Other predictive methods can only be used on diagnosis, and only once, say the scientists.
Previous work on the detection of CTCs in bone marrow had also been shown to have predictive value, said Dr. Jückstock. “It is easier to work with bone marrow, because the volume of CTCs is much higher than in blood in the case of a positive status. However, because bone marrow is not easily accessible it is difficult to use this technique on a large scale. It is very much simpler, and more patient-friendly, to take blood samples for analysis.
“We think that the persistence of CTCs after chemotherapy treatment is likely to be predictive of the likelihood of recurrence of cancer in these patients,” said Dr. Jückstock, “and we will be working to analyse the prognostic value of our findings. If this proves to be the case, it will open the door to a simple way of monitoring the likely outcome of chemotherapy, as well as enabling us to target treatments more precisely. For example, for those patients who have an increased risk of recurrence, we could prolong or alter the chemotherapy regime to give them a better chance of recovery. For those who are likely to respond well to treatment, we could reduce the length of treatment and use less aggressive therapies, thus sparing unpleasant side effects.
“We expect to have these results in the next five years,” she said, “and if they are as expected, we are optimistic that our research can bring about a real improvement in the way chemotherapy is used in breast cancer patients.”
Mary Rice | alfa
Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences