Study confirms prognostic role of CTC in metastatic breast cancer

March 23, 2016

"Generally, the more CTC you have, the worse it is," Dr Bidard said. "However, to define a 'high risk group', a threshold is needed. We report that the relative risk of the high-risk group vs low-risk group does not significantly change whether you define it as having a threshold of 1 CTC or 5 CTC. In both cases, their relative risks of shorter progression-free survival compared to the low-risk group are statistically the same."

"Our data suggest that using the lower threshold of 1 CTC is feasible and is not affected by any major loss of specificity of CTC detection. This supports the use of this low threshold in other studies conducted in non-metastatic breast cancer patients."

Commenting the study, which he was not involved in, Prof Fortunato Ciardiello, from Seconda Universit- di Napoli, Naples, Italy, noted that circulating tumor cells have been suggested in recent times as a useful prognostic marker for several cancers, including breast cancer.

"This study is very relevant, since it gives a prospective evaluation of the role of CTC in a large series of metastatic breast cancer patients receiving first-line treatment. It represents a significant contribution confirming the prognostic role of CTC and gives important insights to establish a clinically useful threshold level for defining patients with high or low circulating tumor cells."

Source: European Society for Medical Oncology