Circulating Tumor Cells in Bloodstream
Diagnostics – prior to, during, and after cancer therapy
Some substances are only effective in the treatment of cancer if the tumor exhibits certain properties. Through this unique test, we can determine whether these relevant therapeutic properties are exhibited in the tumor cells.
Only 15 ml of blood needs to be taken from the patient by the treating physician, and this is subsequently analyzed in the diagnostic laboratory after the addition of EDTA.
This test helps each patient to individually find a unique, personalised, and effective therapy and allows for the success of the therapy to be monitored.
The advantages of Circulating Tumour Cell tests are:
monitoring of therapy,
testing of medicines in advance,
determination of therapy-relevant properties and
early detection of new tumor activity.
Tests can be employed in the case of almost all solid tumors.
Treatment success can be monitored both before therapy starts and over the course of the therapy with diagnostics. The test may also be applied in metastatic situations, during hormone and maintenance therapies and watch-and-wait approaches (e.g. in cases of prostate cancer or DCIS-type breast cancer).
The significance of this diagnostics has already been proven in 15 studies involving over 940 patients.
1. Request the treatment (by e-mail or in an electronic form) supplemented with your medical information:
- records of medical history,
- the latest general clinical, and biochemical blood test.
2. Based on these documents, doctors will make an assessment of your health condition and make the decision on the suitability of the therapy.
The methodology of the circulating tumor cell analysis
Due to the high sensitivity of the techniques involved, CETCs / CTCs can be detected shortly after the diagnosis of a primary tumor, and as such, a timely therapy decision can be made. This early detection relies mainly on the fact that the test is highly sensitive because the cells from the blood sample are analyzed in real-time, contrasting with other methods where cells tend to be fixed, isolated or enriched. This allows for a quantitative determination of CETCs / CTCs even in the early stages of the disease, and not only once a metastatic stage has been reached.
In addition to circulating epithelial cells, white blood cells (leukocytes) are also found in the blood. After lysis of the erythrocytes (disintegration of the red blood cells), the blood is tested for the presence of epithelial cells. On the surface of epithelial cells, a cell-surface protein (EpCAM) can be found, which is marked in the test process using a fluorescent antibody.
At the same time, propidium iodide is added, which can penetrate through the cell membrane of dead cells, allowing for dead (red/green stained) and living (green stained) cells to be distinguished from one another.
Using a fluorescence microscope, the marked cells can now automatically be identified and counted.
If the diagnostic process is employed several times at defined time intervals, results can give a reflection of therapy success and tumor activity over the course of patient progress.