Monitoring of circulating epithelial tumor cells using the Maintrac® method and its potential benefit for the treatment of patients with colorectal cancer
- Madeleine Gold
- Katharina Pachmann
- Alexander Kiani
- Rainer Schobert
Affiliations: Department of Chemistry, University of Bayreuth, D‑95440 Bayreuth, Germany, Transfusion Centre Bayreuth, SIMFO GmbH Bayreuth, D‑95448 Bayreuth, Germany, Department of Oncology and Hematology, Klinikum Bayreuth GmbH, D‑95445 Bayreuth, Germany
- Published online on: August 8, 2021 https://doi.org/10.3892/mco.2021.2363
Copyright: © Gold
et al. This is an open access article distributed under the
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Circulating tumor cells are an important link between primary tumors and metastases. A longitudinal monitoring of their numbers and properties can provide valuable information on therapy response and disease progression for patients with colorectal cancer. As several techniques for the detection of circulating tumor cells are notorious for yielding low detection rates in patients with non‑metastatic colorectal cancer, the present study aimed to perform a proof‑of‑principle study using the Maintrac® approach for an assessment of circulating epithelial tumor cells (CETCs) in patients with colorectal cancer receiving neoadjuvant and/or adjuvant radio/chemotherapy (R/CT). CETCs in the peripheral blood of 22 patients with colorectal cancer were quantified by fluorescence image analysis (Maintrac®) before and after the first cycle of a neoadjuvant and/or adjuvant R/CT, as well as before and after surgical resection of the primary tumor. To determine that blood‑borne CETCs originate from tumor tissues, spheres were cultured from CETCs as well as from primary tumor tissue and compared with the expression of tumor‑specific antigens. Within the scope of this study, it was demonstrated that the Maintrac® method allows for the precise detection and characterization of CETCs in the blood of patients with colorectal cancer independent of tumor stage. Furthermore, correlations between CETC parameters and patients' response to neoadjuvant and/or adjuvant R/CT that have been described in previous literature could be reproduced. Whether the observed trends are of a general nature and suitable as an auxiliary criterion for prognosis and treatment decisions remains to be shown. Patients with rectal cancer may benefit from CETC monitoring as a method to select suitable patients for adjuvant therapy.