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Int J Cancer. 2011 Oct 1;129(7):1651-60. doi: 10.1002/ijc.25819. Epub 2011 Mar 11.

Detection of circulating tumor cells as a prognostic factor in patients undergoing radical surgery for non-small-cell lung carcinoma: comparison of the efficacy of the CellSearch Assay™ and the isolation by size of epithelial tumor cell method.

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EA4319, Faculty of Medicine, University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, Nice, France.


Comparison of the efficacy of different enrichment methods for detection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) before radical surgery is lacking in non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) patients. Detection and enumeration of CTCs in 210 consecutive patients undergoing radical surgery for NSCLC were evaluated with the CellSearch Assay™ (CS), using the CellSearch Epithelial Cell Kit, and by the isolation by size of epithelial tumor (ISET) method, using double immunolabeling with anti-cytokeratin and anti-vimentin antibodies. CTCs were detected in 144 of 210 (69%) patients using CS and/or ISET and in 104 of 210 (50%) and 82 of 210 (39%) patients using ISET and CS, respectively. Using ISET, 23 of 210 (11%) patients had vimentin-positive cells with cytological criteria of malignancy. Disease-free survival (DFS) was worse for patients with CTCs compared to patients without CTCs detected by CS alone (p < 0.0001; log rank = 30.59) or by ISET alone (p < 0.0001; log rank = 33.07). The presence of CTCs detected by both CS and ISET correlated even better with shorter DFS at a univariate (p < 0.0001; log rank = 42.15) and multivariate level (HR, 1.235; 95% CI, 1.056-1.482; p < 0.001). CS and ISET are complementary methods for detection of CTCs in preoperative radical surgery for NSCLC. CTC detection in resectable NSCLC patients using CS and/or ISET could be a prognostic biomarker of great interest and may open up new avenues into improved therapeutic strategies for lung carcinoma patients.

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