Clinical and Translational Oncology

, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp 637–643 | Cite as

Prognostic significance of circulating tumor cells in advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with docetaxel and gemcitabine

  • O. Juan
  • J. Vidal
  • R. Gisbert
  • J. Muñoz
  • S. Maciá
  • J. Gómez-Codina
Research Article



To evaluate the association in the change of circulating tumor cell (CTC) levels and clinical outcomes (PFS and OS) in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated homogenously with docetaxel and gemcitabine administered every 2 weeks.


We prospectively evaluated 37 patients for CTC levels at baseline and after 2 months of chemotherapy (before third cycle). Detection was carried out with the CellSearch system.


Nine of the 37 patients (24 %) had ≥2 CTCs at the baseline determination. Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 4.3 months (95 % CI 2.5–8.3) for patients with CTC 0–1 as compared to 9.4 months (95 % CI 1.2–12.2) for those with CTC ≥2 (p = 0.3506). Median overall survival (OS) was 8.1 (95 % CI 2.8–16.3) and 12.2 (95 % CI 1.4–12.2) months for patients with 0–1 CTCs and ≥2 CTCs, respectively (p = 0.7639). Patients with a second CTC quantification were classified as: group 1, CTC = 0–1 at baseline and CTC = 0–1 after second chemotherapy cycle (18 patients); group 2, CTC ≥2 at baseline and CTC = 0–1 after second determination (5 patients). Median PFS was 7.7 and 9.9 months for group 1 and group 2, respectively (p = 0.4467).


CTCs ≥2 at baseline were detected only in 24 % of this group of patients with advanced NSCLC and poor performance status. No significant differences in PFS and OS between patients with or without CTCs at baseline were observed.


Lung cancer Circulating tumor cells Prognosis Non-small cell lung cancer 



This work was supported in part by a grant from Sanofi Spain. We thank Elena Aristoy for reviewing the English of the manuscript and Vicente Carañana for helpful assistance in the preparation of the figures.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Federación de Sociedades Españolas de Oncología (FESEO) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. Juan
    • 1
  • J. Vidal
    • 2
  • R. Gisbert
    • 2
  • J. Muñoz
    • 3
  • S. Maciá
    • 4
  • J. Gómez-Codina
    • 1
  1. 1.Medical Oncology DepartmentHospital Universitari I Politècnic La FeValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Clinical LaboratoryHospital Arnau de VilanovaValenciaSpain
  3. 3.Medical Oncology DepartmentHospital Dr PesetValenciaSpain
  4. 4.Medical Oncology DepartmentHospital General de EldaAlicanteSpain

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