Interpretation of changes in Circulating Tumor Cell counts

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The presence of circulating tumor cells (CTC) in the blood of cancer patients may guide the use of therapy. We investigated how to evaluate a reduction in the number of CTC after administration of therapy. CTC were enumerated with the CellSearch system in 111 metastatic breast and 185 metastatic prostate cancer patients before start of a new line of chemotherapy and after initiation of therapy. Different means to express changes in CTC counts were evaluated with respect to overall survival (OS). A static CTC cut-off is the best method to determine whether a therapy is effective. This is exemplified by the highest Cox hazard ratio of 2.1 for OS; three methods to express relative differences performed worse. A look-up table is provided from which the significance of a change in CTC can be derived. Aim of therapy should be the elimination of all CTC. A period of 10-12 weeks of therapy is needed to reach the treatment effect on CTC
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)486-491
JournalTranslational oncology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • METIS-289047
  • IR-82828


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