Tumor recurrence is often due to the spread of small cancer cells that have not been killed by drugs or radiation therapy. Single cancer cell may be metastatic from primary tumor in the early stage and then spread to different parts in our body. These metastatic cancer cells are the precursors and may form metastatic tumors. Unfortunately, standard imaging technology cannot track and localize the spread of tumor cells during the metastasis. Using efficient new biomarkers to detect the early metastasis is therefore a very important challenge.
Currently clinicians usually use imaging technology and cancer biomarkers to evaluate the invasion and treatment responses for metastatic tumors. A state-of-the-art technology is “Circulating Tumor Cells (CTC) Assay”.
CTC is a phenomenon while proliferated tumor cells pass through blood vessel walls and disperse in the bloodstream to any distal parts of the body. When circulating tumor cells anchor in an organ, they will stay and grow to form new tumors, just like seeds grow in the soil. In general circulating tumor cells are rarely detected in healthy individuals or in patients with benign tumors. While more circulating tumor cells are found in patients with metastatic cancers, it indicates these cancer cells may be more aggressive. In addition, circulating tumor cell number may vary. It may increase or decrease depend on the progression of the diseases, tumor properties, and the treatment responses of patients.
CTC assay is used to measure the number of circulating tumor cells in the blood. It can be used to access outcomes after operations, to evaluate therapeutic responses and the severe level of tumor invasion. The assay report can provide information for clinicians to determine a more precise treatment plan for applying chemotherapeutic drugs and/or targeted therapy.
Leopard Gene takes advantage of an automated CTC capture platform. For pan-cancer detection, we use Anti-EpCAM to capture abnormal epithelial cells in the blood. A total of 18 different types of cancer cell can be identified by antibodies. The assay report can assist clinicians for a better evaluation of disease prognosis, treatment efficiency, and disease progression monitoring.