Purpose: Recent developments in rare-cell technology have led to improved blood-based assays that allow for the reliable detection, enumeration, and more recently, genomic profiling of circulating tumor cells (CTC). We evaluated two different approaches for enumeration of CTCs in a prospective therapeutic study of patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Experimental Design: The CellSearch system, a commercially available and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-cleared assay for CTC enumeration, and IE/FC, an alternative method using EPCAM-based immunomagnetic enrichment and flow cytometry that maintains cell viability, were used to enumerate CTCs in the blood of patients with metastatic TNBC. CTC numbers were assessed at baseline and 7 to 14 days after initiation of therapy with cetuximab-carboplatin in a phase II multicenter clinical trial (TBCRC 001). Results: CTC numbers from two methods were significantly correlated at baseline (r =0.62) and at 7 to 14 days (r =0.53). Baseline CTCs showed no association with time-to-progression (TTP), whereas CTCs at 7 to 14 days were significantly correlated with TTP (CellSearch P =0.02; IE/FC P =0.03). CTCs at both time points were significantly associated with overall survival (OS) [CellSearch: baseline (P =0.0001) and 7 to 14 days (P < 0.0001); IE/FC: baseline (P =0.0009) and 7 to 14 days (P =0.0086)]. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that CTC enumeration by two different assays was highly concordant. In addition, results of both assays were significantly correlated with TTP and OS in patients with TNBC. The IE/FC method is also easily adapted to isolation of pure populations of CTCs for genomic profiling. Clin Cancer Res; 21(5); 1098-105.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research