Prognostic significance of circulating tumor cells in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.
ABSTRACT We demonstrated that circulating tumor cell (CTC) number at baseline and follow-up is an independent prognostic factor in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). This analysis was undertaken to explore whether patient and treatment characteristics impact the prognostic value of CTCs.
CTCs were enumerated with immunomagnetic separation from the blood of 430 patients with mCRC at baseline and on therapy. Patients were stratified into unfavorable and favorable prognostic groups based on CTC levels of > or = 3 or <3 CTCs/7.5 ml, respectively. Subgroups were analyzed by line of treatment, liver involvement, receipt of oxaliplatin, irinotecan, or bevacizumab, age, and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG PS).
Seventy-one percent of deaths have occurred. Median follow-up for living patients is 25.8 months. For all patients, progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) for unfavorable compared with favorable baseline CTCs is shorter (4.4 versus 7.8 m, P = 0.004 for PFS; 9.4 versus 20.6 m, P < 0.0001 for OS). In all patient subgroups, unfavorable baseline CTC was associated with inferior OS (P < 0.001). In patients receiving first- or second-line therapy (P = 0.003), irinotecan (P = 0.0001), having liver involvement (P = 0.002), >/=65 years (P = 0.0007), and ECOG PS of zero (P = 0.04), unfavorable baseline CTC was associated with inferior PFS.
Baseline CTC count is an important prognostic factor within specific subgroups defined by treatment or patient characteristics.
Article: Molecular characterization of circulating tumor cells in human metastatic colorectal cancer.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) relies on the detachment of aggressive malignant cells from the primary tumor into the bloodstream and, concordantly, the presence of these Circulating Tumor Cells (CTC) is associated with a poor prognosis. In this work, the molecular characterization of CTC from mCRC patients was approached, with the aim of understanding their biology and improving their clinical utility in the management of colorectal cancer patients. For this, EpCAM-based immunoisolation of CTC was combined with whole transcriptome amplification and hybridization onto cDNA microarrays. Gene expression data from mCRC patients, once the background of unspecific immunoisolation from a group of controls had been subtracted, resulted in 410 genes that characterized the CTC population. Bioinformatics were used for the biological interpretation of the data, revealing that CTC are characterized by genes related to cell movement and adhesion, cell death and proliferation, and cell signalling and interaction. RTqPCR on an independent series of mCRC patients and controls was used for the validation of a number of genes related to the main cellular functions characterizing the CTC population. Comparison between primary carcinomas and lung and liver metastases further involved the CTC-genes in the promotion of metastasis. Moreover, the correlation of CTC-gene expression with clinical parameters demonstrated detection and prognosis significance. In conclusion, the molecular characterization of CTC from mCRC patients and the identification of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers represent an innovative and promising approach in the clinical management of this type of patients.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(7):e40476. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Single cell profiling of circulating tumor cells: transcriptional heterogeneity and diversity from breast cancer cell lines.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: To improve cancer therapy, it is critical to target metastasizing cells. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are rare cells found in the blood of patients with solid tumors and may play a key role in cancer dissemination. Uncovering CTC phenotypes offers a potential avenue to inform treatment. However, CTC transcriptional profiling is limited by leukocyte contamination; an approach to surmount this problem is single cell analysis. Here we demonstrate feasibility of performing high dimensional single CTC profiling, providing early insight into CTC heterogeneity and allowing comparisons to breast cancer cell lines widely used for drug discovery. We purified CTCs using the MagSweeper, an immunomagnetic enrichment device that isolates live tumor cells from unfractionated blood. CTCs that met stringent criteria for further analysis were obtained from 70% (14/20) of primary and 70% (21/30) of metastatic breast cancer patients; none were captured from patients with non-epithelial cancer (n = 20) or healthy subjects (n = 25). Microfluidic-based single cell transcriptional profiling of 87 cancer-associated and reference genes showed heterogeneity among individual CTCs, separating them into two major subgroups, based on 31 highly expressed genes. In contrast, single cells from seven breast cancer cell lines were tightly clustered together by sample ID and ER status. CTC profiles were distinct from those of cancer cell lines, questioning the suitability of such lines for drug discovery efforts for late stage cancer therapy. For the first time, we directly measured high dimensional gene expression in individual CTCs without the common practice of pooling such cells. Elevated transcript levels of genes associated with metastasis NPTN, S100A4, S100A9, and with epithelial mesenchymal transition: VIM, TGFß1, ZEB2, FOXC1, CXCR4, were striking compared to cell lines. Our findings demonstrate that profiling CTCs on a cell-by-cell basis is possible and may facilitate the application of 'liquid biopsies' to better model drug discovery.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(5):e33788. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: A novel method for the in vivo isolation of circulating tumor cells from peripheral blood of cancer patients using a functionalized and structured medical wire.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The isolation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from the blood of patients afflicted with solid malignant tumors becomes increasingly important as it may serve as a 'liquid biopsy' with the potential of monitoring the course of the cancer disease and its response to cancer therapy, with subsequent molecular characterization. For this purpose, we functionalized a structured medical Seldinger guidewire (FSMW), normally used to obtain safe access to blood vessels and other organ cavities, with a chimeric monoclonal antibody directed to the cell surface expressed epithelial cell surface adhesion molecule (EpCAM). This medical device was optimized in vitro and its biocompatibility was tested according to the regulations for medical devices and found to be safe with no noteworthy side effects. Suitability, specificity and sensitivity of the FSMW to catch and enrich CTCs in vivo from circulating peripheral blood were tested in 24 breast cancer or non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients and in 29 healthy volunteers. For this, the FSMW was inserted through a standard venous cannula into the cubital veins of healthy volunteers or cancer patients for the duration of 30 min. After removal, CTCs were identified by immuno-cytochemical staining of EpCAM and/or cytokeratins and staining of their nuclei and counted. The FSMW successfully enriched EpCAM-positive CTCs from 22 of the 24 patients, with a median of 5.5 (0-50) CTCs in breast cancer (n=12) and 16 (2-515) CTCs in NSCLC (n=12). CTCs could be isolated across all tumor stages, including early stage cancer, in which distant metastases were not yet diagnosed, while no CTCs could be detected in healthy volunteers. In this observatory study, no adverse effects were noted. Evidently, the FSMW has the potential to become an important device to enrich CTCs in vivo for monitoring the course of the cancer disease and the efficacy of anticancer treatment.International Journal of Oncology 07/2012; · 2.40 Impact Factor