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Tumor cells in blood may signal worse prognosis in head and neck cancer patients
Date:12/21/2010

agnetic field to pull them out of each sample. Finally, the remaining abnormal cells were stained and manually counted.

"We believe our technique is superior to others because it removes normal cells from the blood, allowing for the detection of CTCs in their native state," Jatana says. "Other reported techniques identify only those cells with a specific surface marker, which has the potential to miss abnormal cells."

This study involves 48 patients who underwent surgical intervention for squamous cell cancer of the head and neck, 35 of which had smoked the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes a day for 15 years, and half of them were moderate to heavy alcohol consumers.

"Although smoking and alcohol consumption are a contributing risk factor for developing head and neck cancers, patients who do not use either also can develop the disease," Jatana says. Patients in the study were followed for an average of 19 months after surgery.

To date, no instances of cancer recurrence or disease-related mortality occurred in patients with no CTCs. The study found a correlation between an increasing number of CTCs and a worse prognosis.

"In the future, along with continued follow-up of these patients, we want to further characterize these cells and determine if this technology can be used for early detection of cancer recurrence," Jatana says. "This could help us individualize treatment and optimize outcomes for head and neck cancer patients."


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Contact: Darrell E. Ward
Darrell.Ward@osumc.edu
614-293-3737
Ohio State University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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