Circulating Cancer Cells
This is a dense, scientific article from Future Oncology about a recent theory predicting the risk of metastasis based on the number of circulating (in the blood) cancer cells. Please note that, although there is a test to look at this, it is not really available yet except in a few research settings. That is, this is an early glimpse of something that may eventually become a routine part of care and help identify individuals who are at high risk for a recurrence or relapse. This is the introduction and then a link to read more:
Detection of the Circulating Tumor Cells in Cancer Patients
Athanasios Armakolas; Zacharoula Panteleakou; Adrianos Nezos; Aikaterini Tsouma; Maria Skondra; Peter Lembessis; Nikolaos Pissimissis; Michael Koutsilieris
As the presence of tumor cells circulating in the blood is associated with systemic disease and shortened survival, the establishment of a method to detect circulating tumor cells (CTCs) is of critical importance for a more concise staging and follow-up of cancer patients. Recently, the most robust strategies for the determination of CTCs are the PCR-based methods and the CellSearch® system that exploits the immunofluorescent characterization and isolation of cancer cells. Herein, we analyzed the experimental strategies used for determining CTCs with respect to accuracy, sensitivity and reproducibility in cancers of the breast, colon, prostate and melanoma.
The major cause of cancer-related death in patients with solid tumors is the presence of metastatic disease.The existence of malignant cells of epithelial origin in the blood - circulating tumor cells (CTCs) - has been known for over a century and has been associated with metastasis. It has been suggested that the hallmark of the 'invasive behavior' of a proportion of cancer cells is associated with escaping from the primary tumor mass and colonizing new terrain in the body where, at least initially, nutrients and space are not limited, and there form metastases.