Circulating tumor cells are cells that has detached themselves from the primary tumor into the blood stream.
The detection of CTCs may have important prognostic and therapeutic implications but because their numbers can be very small, these cells are not easily detected. Circulating tumor cells are found in frequencies in the order of 1-10 CTC per mL of whole blood in patients with metastatic disease. For comparison, a mL of blood contains a few million white blood cells and a billion red blood cells, see figure 1. This low frequency means that a key component of methods to detect CTC is the enrichment method.
First evidence indicates that CTC markers applied in human medicine are conserved in other species. Five of the more common markers including CK19 are also useful to detect CTC in the blood of dogs with malignant mammary tumors.
Johnson and Johnson explains why CTC testing is important.
Very recent news on using CTC testing for Breast Cancer is presented by Biocept.
Biocept and Clarient, a GE Healthcare Company, have launched Biocept's breast cancer circulating tumor cell (CTC) test, OncoCEE-BR, performed on a blood sample in US.
OncoCEE-BR detects CTCs, which are rare, and determines the patient's HER2 status by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH).
The companies will market and sell the OncoCEE-BR CTC test to hospitals, pathologists and medical oncologists.
Biocept will perform the test in its laboratory and results will be interpreted and reported by Clarient's pathology group.
Clarient chief commercial officer Dave Daly said Biocept's OncoCEE-BR is an important test for their oncology portfolio, and will help the oncology community progress towards more personalized cancer care.
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