Navigation Links
Stray Breast Tumor Cells in Early Chemo Could Be Bad Sign

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- High levels of breast cancer tumor cells circulating in the blood during the first round of chemotherapy are a sign that the patient may not do well in the long run.

This was true even after other markers of survival were taken into account, French researchers reported Friday at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in Texas.

The information from the study is not entirely new, said Dr. Andrew J. Armstrong, an assistant professor of medicine and surgery at Duke University and Duke Cancer Institute in Durham, N.C. "It's already known that circulating tumor cells are prognostic," Armstrong said. "The more you have, the worse you do."

But this study is the largest-to-date to look at the issue, the authors said. The study also measured other tumor markers, finding that circulating tumor cells (CTCs) predicted outcome even after taking these other markers into account.

Circulating tumor cells "are cancer cells that are broken off from the main tumor and are finding their way to other parts of body," Armstrong explained. "You can order this test as a clinician because it's a proven prognostic test."

The study presented at the Texas symposium involved 267 people whose cancer had spread to other parts of their body and who were receiving chemotherapy for the first time. Many were also receiving other treatments. They were followed for 16 months.

Researchers detected one or more CTCs in two-thirds of them and five or more in 44 percent.

And, consistent with other reports, the more CTCs someone had, the worse that person did.

Even so, the authors stated, it's not yet clear if measuring CTC levels actually has an effect on the course of the breast cancer. Research presented at medical meetings has not been reviewed by outside experts, unlike studies that are published in peer-reviewed medical journals.

"There's not a very clear correlation between actually watching the tumor shrink and the number of tumor cells," confirmed Dr. Jay Brooks, chief of hematology/oncology at Ochsner Health System in Baton Rouge, La.

And it's far from clear that this simple blood test would be a good replacement for imaging to track the progress of the cancer, he added.

Nor do CTCs tell you which treatment may be best, like certain other markers, including HER2/neu and estrogen-receptor status, added Armstrong, although he said it might indicate the need for a more aggressive approach.

Still, Armstrong said, "these CTCs are likely to become very important because they're not just a protein. They're the actual cancer cell, so if you can isolate them and measure things that have gone wrong inside the cancer cell, you could eventually use them to guide therapy for an individual. [And] you could monitor it over time especially to assess response to treatment and modify treatment [if necessary]. Cancer cells mutate and can develop abnormalities that can be an Achilles' heel for drugs. Without that information, it's very hard to guide therapy."

Other studies being presented at the symposium confirm the potential importance of CTC levels in predicting the odds for a recurrence, or a patient's general prognosis after treatment.

One report, from German researchers, found that the presence of only a few CTCs in the blood -- this time, involving early-stage patients -- roughly doubled the risk for a recurrence and death. Five or more of the tumor cells increased the chances of a relapse by 400 percent and death by 300 percent.

A study from scientists at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas found that metastatic breast cancer patients who had both chemotherapy and transplants of their own stem cells and had CTCs in their blood also tended to fare badly.

The stem cells may be responsible by carrying CTCs from the bone marrow into the blood, the authors stated.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on breast cancer.

SOURCES: Andrew J. Armstrong, M.D., assistant professor, medicine and surgery, Duke University and Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, N.C.; Jay Brooks, M.D., chairman, hematology/oncology, Ochsner Health System, Baton Rouge, La.; Dec. 10, 2010, presentations, San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, Texas

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Higher co-payments increase chance of early discontinuation of breast cancer therapy
2. Depression drug may relieve pain from breast cancer treatment, U-M study finds
3. Novel imaging technique may reduce lymphedema in breast cancer patients
4. Phase III efficacy data on bevacizumab plus chemotherapy in early breast cancer to be presented
5. Circulating tumor cells predicted recurrence, death in patients with early-stage breast cancer
6. High CTC levels predicted poor outcome in metastatic breast cancer
7. CTCs predict poor outcome from blood stem cell transplantation therapy for metastatic breast cancer
8. Poor breast cancer prognosis associated with presence of circulating tumor, cancer stem cells
9. Trio of drugs may combat triple negative breast cancer
10. Simple fingertip test may identify breast cancer patients at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome
11. FDA Weighs In as Sharing of Breast Milk Booms
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Stray Breast Tumor Cells in Early Chemo Could Be Bad Sign
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... Avid collector, Andrew ... Arbor Michigan boxing style concert posters. This is one of Joplin's most famous and ... House at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The According to Hawley, "It ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Inevitably when people think Thanksgiving, they also ... buy during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday massage chair sales to ... Internet high and low to find the best massage chair deals, they can see ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... of workshops to discuss bioavailability and the need to integrate dose form selection ... in collaboration with OBN, the membership organization supporting and bringing together the UK’s ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... WorldCare International, ... in the 61st annual Employee Benefits Conference. The Employee Benefits Conference was hosted ... 8th through Wednesday, November 11th, 2015. The conference was held at the Hawaii ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Indosoft Inc., developer and distributor of the world-class Asterisk based ... efficiency and reliability. , The new Q-Suite 6 platform is based on the latest ... itself into a specific piece of software for many key components of the suite. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... ) ... "2016 Global Tumor Marker Testing Market: Supplier ... Segment Forecasts, Innovative Technologies, Instrumentation Review, Competitive ... offering. --> ) has ... Global Tumor Marker Testing Market: Supplier Shares ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , Países Bajos, November 26, 2015 ... terapia fotodinámica de Bremachlorin para el cáncer avanzado. ... inmunoterapia con la terapia fotodinámica de Bremachlorin para el ... nuevo enfoque combina la inmunoterapia con la terapia fotodinámica ... Clinical Cancer Research . --> Clinical ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... new combination approach blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for ... combination approach blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for advanced ... combination approach blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for advanced ... has found that immunotherapy can be efficiently combined ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: