Clinical Trial

Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, 115:581

First online:

Molecular profiling and predictive value of circulating tumor cells in patients with metastatic breast cancer: an option for monitoring response to breast cancer related therapies

  • Mitra TewesAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine (Cancer Research), University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen
  • , Bahriye AktasAffiliated withDepartment of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen
  • , Anja WeltAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine (Cancer Research), University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen
  • , Siemke MuellerAffiliated withZentrum für Innere Medizin, Kath. Marienkrankenhaus GmbH
  • , Siegfried HauchAffiliated withAdnaGen AG
  • , Rainer KimmigAffiliated withDepartment of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen
  • , Sabine Kasimir-BauerAffiliated withDepartment of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen Email author 

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Abstract

Purpose We analyzed circulating tumor cells (CTC) in blood of metastatic breast cancer patients (n = 42) and determined the ability of this method to predict therapy response. Methods CTC from blood were analyzed before and during therapy for EpCAM, MUC1 and HER2 transcripts with the AdnaTest BreastCancer. The estrogen (ER) and progesterone (PR) receptor expression was assessed by RT-PCR. Results The overall detection rate for CTC was 52% (thereof 86% EpCAM; 86% MUC1; 32% HER2; 35% ER; 12% PR). CTC were ER, PR and HER2 negative in 45% (ER), 78% (PR) and 60% (HER-2) of patients with steroid receptor-positive tumors. 29% of patients with HER2-negative tumors had HER2-positive CTC. The test predicted therapy response in 78% of all cases. Persistence of CTC significantly correlated with shorter overall survival (P = 0.005). Conclusions Molecular profiling of CTC may offer superior prognostic information with regard to risk assessment for recurrence and predictive judgement of therapeutical regimens.

Keywords

Circulating tumor cells Molecular profiling Therapy monitoring Metastatic breast cancer