Prostate cancer is a very common cancer and accounts for one of the most related cancer deaths among men. About 15%-30% of patients with prostate cancer are diagnosed with high-risk disease, often treated with local therapy. Nevertheless, the incidence of a relapse or a metastatic disease stresses the need for optimizing the treatment. The researcher Markou and colleagues from the University of Athens in Greece investigated, if combination of in vivo CTC isolation with downstream RNA analysis can be a useful tool to optimize individual treatment of high-risk prostate cancer patients. Therefore, EpCAM-positive CTCs were isolated in vivo using the GILUPI CellCollector® from 105 high-risk prostate cancer patients. Additionally, a group of 36 healthy volunteers were enrolled as noncancerous controls. For molecular characterization of CTCs the researcher developed a multiplex RT-qPCR assay for 14 genes, including epithelial markers, stem cell markers and epithelial-to-mesenchymal-transition (EMT) markers.
For the first time, a publication of a clinical study presented RNA analysis of in vivo isolated CTCs in cancer patients. They observed a high heterogeneity in gene expression in the captured CTCs for each patient. The expression of at least one marker was detected in the vast majority of enrolled prostate cancer patients (70.5%), but not in healthy individuals. Moreover, at least 2 markers were positive in 45 of 105 patients (40.9%), and 3 markers in 16 of 105 patients (15.2%). More importantly, they observed a change of marker expression before and after treatment. In conclusion, combining in vivo isolation of CTCs using GILUPI CellCollector® with downstream RT-qPCR assay is a minimal-invasive, highly specific and sensitive approach for molecular diagnostics in cancer patients.
Markou et al. "Multiplex Gene Expression Profiling of In Vivo Isolated Circulating Tumor Cells in High-Risk Prostate Cancer Patients.“ Clin Chem. 2017 Nov 9.pii:clinchem.2017.275503. doi:10.1373/clinchem.2017.275503.
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