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MD Anderson and Biocept Scientists to Present Poster at ASCO on Disseminated Tumor Cells (DTCs) in Bone Marrow and Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) in Blood in Early Stage Breast Cancer Patients

SAN DIEGO, June 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Data to be presented in a poster at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) taking place in Chicago, Illinois June 3-7 by researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Biocept, Inc. show that a laboratory test developed by Biocept, Inc. for the evaluation of HER2 status of Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) and Disseminated Tumor Cells (DTCs) can provide potentially valuable information to physicians treating breast cancer patients, different from that obtained through analysis of surgical resections.

The study involved 50 breast cancer patients from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, most with early stage operable disease, from whom tumor tissue, bone marrow and blood samples were obtained.  DTCs and CTCs isolated from the bone marrow and blood samples with Biocept's OncoCEE technology, respectively, were tested for Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor-2 (HER2) by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and the results compared.  Typically, 20-25% of breast cancer patients are determined to be HER2 positive, by FISH or immunohistochemistry (IHC).

"This research builds on collaborative work between MD Anderson and Biocept focused on exploring the utility of testing CTCs and DTCs in conjunction with tumor tissue from surgical biopsies of breast cancer patients for biomarkers like HER2," said Anthony Lucci, MD., Professor, Department of Surgical Oncology, Division of Surgery at MD Anderson.  "We found in a number of cases discordance of HER2 status between primary tumors and CTCs or DTCs.  Specifically, HER2 positive CTCs and DTCs were found in a significant number of patients with HER2 negative primary tumors. Since HER2 was analyzed by FISH, we feel the testing is rigorous. This pilot study supports the need for further characterization of markers on DTCs and CTCs as a means of personalizing targeted therapies for breast cancer."

Additional details for the ASCO poster are as follows:
Mon, June 6, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM (5:00 PM: Hall A, poster #10G)
Abstract #613 - Detection of HER2 status of circulating tumor cells and disseminated tumor cells using a microfluidic platform (cell enrichment and extraction technology [CEE]).
S. Krishnamurthy, F. Z. Bischoff, J. A. Mayer, K. Wong, S. Mikolajczyk, T. Pham, H. M. Kuerer, A. Lodhi, A. Bhattacharyya, C. Hall, A. Lucci Jr.; University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; Biocept, Inc., San Diego, CA

The abstract is available and can be viewed on-line at no charge through the ASCO website at

About Biocept, Inc.

Biocept Laboratories, headquartered in San Diego, California, is an advanced CLIA-certifed laboratory services company specializing in the capture, detection, enumeration and analysis of Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs).  Biocept's mission is to enhance the lives of cancer patients through the development of innovative diagnostic products and services.   Biocept utilizes innovative, proprietary technologies to deliver clinically relevant and actionable information to physicians that enable better patient care.  This includes clinical assessments of CTCs, both prognostic and predictive, which may provide physicians with important information for the treatment of their patients with cancer.

About OncoCEE™

The OncoCEE™ platform, developed by Biocept, has demonstrated that it can consistently and accurately capture extremely rare cells, like CTCs, which may be present in only 1 of every 50-100 billion blood cells.  Biocept obtains patient samples via a simple blood draw, or "liquid biopsy", instead on relying on traditional biopsy methods or surgical procedures.  Existing methods to detect and enumerate CTCs rely only on the expression of epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) and cytokeratins.  This limited selection may exclude cells that have undergone intrinsic modifications of their phenotype such as epithelial/mesenchymal transition (EMT).   EMT may represent a possible explanation for patients who, despite an aggressive disease, are found negative for the presence of CTCs.  Because it employs an antibody cocktail, OncoCEE™ has the potential to capture not only EpCAM but also mesenchymal-like cells.  Additionally, OncoCEE™ enables in situ analysis of predictive biomarkers like HER2 estrogen receptor (ER) and  progesterone receptor (PR).

For more information, please visit Biocept’s web site at . The Company’s website is not part of this press release.

SOURCE Biocept, Inc.
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