Number of Circulating Tumor Cells in Blood May Allow for Less Aggressive Treatment of Advanced Cancers

Number of Circulating Tumor Cells in Blood May Allow for Less Aggressive Treatment of Advanced Cancers
Using blood samples to count circulating tumor cells may help to classify metastatic breast cancer patients according to their tumors’ aggressiveness, raising the possibility of more tailored treatments, with fewer severe side effects, for those whose advanced cancers are likely to be less aggressive. These findings were presented in the poster, “The impact of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) detection in metastatic breast cancer (MBC): Implications of “indolent” stage IV disease (Stage IVindolent),” at the recent 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Meeting in Chicago. Circulating tumor cells, or CTCs, are cancer cells shed from the primary tumor or its metastases that circulate in the blood or lymphatic system. Counting CTCs, a form of liquid biopsy, can provide an estimated idea of the aggressiveness of a patient’s cancer, determine if the disease is stable or if it is responding to therapy. Researchers performing the largest study on CTCs to date found that counting the number of these circulating cells could help categorize metastatic breast cancer patients according to tumor aggressiveness. They pooled data on individual patients from two large groups of people with metastatic breast cancers — the European Pooled Analysis Investigators (EPAC) cohort and the MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) cohort. The study included data on 2,436 patients. CTCs were assessed using the CellSearch System – developed by Menarini Silicon Biosystems, and the first and only clinically-validated, FDA-approved test for counting CTCs from a simple blood sample. T
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