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
Speed data for the brain’s navigation system
06.12.2016 | Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen e.V. (DZNE)
Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences
07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences
07.12.2016 | Materials Sciences