The team of scientists – including first author Jose Moreno, M.D., clinical associate professor of urology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson – looked at circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in 240 men with metastatic prostate cancer that failed hormone-depletion therapy. They compared levels prior to chemotherapy and after two to five weeks of treatment. They found that those men with more than five tumor cells per blood sample had a worse prognosis than those who had fewer cells. One half of the patients with more than five CTCs lived at least 10 months, whereas half of the men with fewer tumor cells lived substantially longer – 21 months.
Dr. Moreno presents the trial’s findings June 4, 2007 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.
The results of the 65-site trial also showed that those patients who underwent chemotherapy and whose CTC number went down fared better and had a more favorable prognosis. That is, the level of response to chemotherapy was reflected in the CTC level, notes Dr. Moreno. The numbers held up even after up to 20 weeks of treatment. “If chemotherapy doesn’t reduce the CTC level, it’s information that enables the physician to change the drug regimen or perhaps stop treatment,” he says.
Dr. Moreno notes that the prostate specific antigen has been a powerful biomarker for cancer presence and a useful way to gauge treatment effectiveness for years, though it has some flaws. He thinks that the group’s findings show that CTCs can be a stronger marker.
“The other exciting aspect is in looking at men with earlier stage prostate cancer,” he says. “One in four men may have circulating tumor cells at an early stage of prostate cancer. If we can identify those patients, perhaps we can observe and not treat with radical surgery because their cancer is more dormant.”
Huntington Valley, Pa.-based Immunicon Corporation’s technology enabled researchers to visualize circulating tumor cells by using immunomagnetic beams that bind to the cell surface. It’s been Food and Drug Administration-approved for clinical use in breast cancer.
Immunicon currently is working with several pharmaceutical companies in identifying targets on circulating tumor cells that are susceptible to various chemotherapy drugs, he explains. “Then doctors can select specific chemotherapy agents for specific patients,” Dr. Moreno says. “The first immediate application is personalized medicine in advanced metastatic prostate cancer.”
In addition, certain tests can be performed on CTCs, he notes. One future goal is to better characterize the tumor cells virulence.
Yet, one limitation is that “we didn’t find as many circulating cells as we thought we would.” In the study, circulating tumor cells weren’t found in 38 percent of the men. “That might mean a better prognosis, but in fact their prognosis still isn’t very good,” he points out. “There are some limitations in our ability to detect them.”
Steve Benowitz | EurekAlert!
UC San Diego cancer scientists identify new drug target for multiple tumor types
12.07.2019 | University of California - San Diego
Bacteria engineered as Trojan horse for cancer immunotherapy
04.07.2019 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science
Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.
Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...
For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.
Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...
An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".
The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...
An interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has built platinum nanoparticles for catalysis in fuel cells: The new size-optimized catalysts are twice as good as the best process commercially available today.
Fuel cells may well replace batteries as the power source for electric cars. They consume hydrogen, a gas which could be produced for example using surplus...
The fly agaric with its red hat is perhaps the most evocative of the diverse and variously colored mushroom species. Hitherto, the purpose of these colors was...
24.06.2019 | Event News
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
16.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
16.07.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering
16.07.2019 | Information Technology