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CTCs predict poor outcome from blood stem cell transplantation therapy for metastatic breast cancer
Date:12/10/2010

SAN ANTONIO Metastatic breast cancer patients who had circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in their blood before or after high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) followed by autologous stem cell transplantation had poor outcomes, according to researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Patients with CTCs in their blood before chemotherapy treatment had reduced survival and those with these cells in their blood after the stem cell transplant recurred faster and died earlier. These findings were presented at the 33rd Annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec 8-12.

While it has been known that CTCs in metastatic breast cancer are linked to cancer recurrence and lower survival, this study adds several new insights, the researchers said. One is that the process of collecting hematopoietic progenitor cells appears to recruit CTCs from bone marrow into the blood, and the other is that these CTCs are likely to be responsible for cancer recurrence.

"Our group had previously shown that metastatic breast cancer patients with CTCs in their blood relapsed faster and now we see that these same cells can be recruited from bone marrow and that they may have the same effect on disease outcome," said the lead researcher Hui Gao, Ph.D., a research scientist working in the laboratory of James M. Reuben, Ph.D.

"Furthermore, some CTCs seem to have the characteristic markings of stem-like cells, but we don't know yet if they are cancer stem cells," Gao said.

The 21 patients included in this study were younger women (average age of 44) diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer who were offered high-dose chemotherapy followed by stem cell transplant. Before chemotherapy, patients were given a growth factor treatment to recruit hematopoietic progenitor cells from bone marrow, then the cells were harvested from their blood.

CTCs were found in six patients before transplant and in nine patients one month a
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Contact: Jeremy Moore
jeremy.moore@aacr.org
267-646-0557
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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