Quantitation of rare circulating tumor cells by folate receptor α ligand-targeted PCR in bladder transitional cell carcinoma and its potential diagnostic significance
Numerous attempts for detection of circulating tumor cells (CTC) have been made to develop reliable assays for early diagnosis of cancers. In this study, we validated the application of folate receptor α (FRα) as the tumor marker to detect CTC through tumor-specific ligand PCR (LT-PCR) and assessed its utility for diagnosis of bladder transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). Immunohistochemistry for FRα was performed on ten bladder TCC tissues. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for FRα was performed on both urine and serum specimens from bladder TCC patients (n = 64 and n = 20, respectively) and healthy volunteers (n = 20 and n = 23, respectively). Western blot analysis and qRT-PCR were performed to confirm the expression of FRα in bladder TCC cells. CTC values in 3-mL peripheral blood were measured in 57 bladder TCC patients, 48 healthy volunteers, and 15 subjects with benign urologic pathologies by the folate receptor α ligand-targeted PCR. We found that FRα protein was overexpressed in both bladder TCC cells and tissues. The levels of FRα mRNA were also much higher in bladder cancer cell lines 5637 and SW780 than those of leukocyte. Values of FRα were higher in both serum and urine specimens of bladder TCC patients than those of control. CTC values were also higher in 3-mL peripheral blood of bladder TCC patients than those of control (median 26.5 Cu/3 mL vs 14.0 Cu/3 mL). Area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve for bladder TCC detection was 0.819, 95 % CI (0.738–0.883). At the cutoff value of 15.43 Cu/3 mL, the sensitivity and the specificity for detecting bladder cancer are 82.14 and 61.9 %, respectively. We concluded that quantitation of CTCs through FRα ligand-PCR could be a promising method for noninvasive diagnosis of bladder TCC.
KeywordsBladder transitional cell carcinoma Tumor specific ligand-PCR Circulating tumor cell Folate receptor α