September 30, 2010

Tumor Cells May Provide Information on A Patient’s Disease

(Ivanhoe Newswire) "“ Circulating tumor cells may create a new alternative and non-invasive source for biomarker assessment a new study shows.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the major cause of mortality in patients with cancer is caused by tumor cells that escape from the primary tumor into the bloodstream and travel through the circulation to distant sites where they develop into secondary tumors. These are called circulating tumor cells or CTC, and they provide a link between the primary tumor and metastatic sites.

"The basic idea is that CTCs can provide real time information about a patient's current disease state, acting as a "liquid biopsy," Siminder Kaur Atway, PhD, senior research associate at Genentech was quoted saying. " They are much less invasive than tumor biopsies because they can be detected from a blood draw and don't require surgical intervention."

Researchers at Genentech compared the CTC capture efficiency of the drug CellSearch with two biochip platforms using tumor cell lines spiked into whole blood. They tried to detect EGFR protein in patients with lung cancer and HER2 in patients with metastatic breast cancer.

Results showed that in some cases, CTC might offer a real time view of a patient's biomarker status that is different from diagnostic tissue. Researchers say some improvements are necessary before the technology can be generally useful in clinical biomarkers and future studies will look for other biomarkers in CTCs to determine if they represent a patient's tumor.

SOURCE: AACR International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Treatment Development, September 2010