Author(s): Strati A, KasimirBauer S, Markou A, Parisi C, Lianidou ES
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Abstract INTRODUCTION: Comparison studies between different analytical methodologies for circulating tumor cells (CTC) detection and molecular characterization are urgently needed, since standardization of assays is essential before their use in clinical practice. METHODS: We compared three different CTC molecular assays. To avoid discrepancies due to pre-analytical errors we used the same cDNAs throughout our study. CTC were isolated using anti-EpCAM and anti-MUC1 coated magnetic beads from 2 × 5 ml of peripheral blood of 254 early and 51 metastatic breast cancer patients and 30 healthy individuals. The same cDNAs were analyzed by: a) singleplex RT-qPCR assay for CK-19; b) multiplex RT-qPCR for CK-19, HER-2, MAGE- A3, and PBGD; and c) a commercially available molecular assay (AdnaTest BreastCancer) for GA733-2, MUC-1, HER-2 and beta-actin. RESULTS: In early breast cancer, CK-19 RT-qPCR, multiplex RT-qPCR and the AdnaTest, were positive for the presence of CTC in 14.2\%, 22.8\% and 16.5\% subjects, respectively. The concordance between the AdnaTest and CK-19 RT-qPCR was 72.4\% while between the AdnaTest and multiplex RT-qPCR was 64.6\%. In patients with overt metastasis, CK-19 RT-qPCR, multiplex RT-qPCR and the AdnaTest were positive in 41.2\%, 39.2\% and 54.9\% patients, respectively. The concordance between the AdnaTest and CK-19 RT-qPCR was 70.6\% while between the AdnaTest and multiplex RT-qPCR was 68.6\%. CONCLUSIONS: All CTC assays gave similar results in about 70\% of cases. Better agreement was found in the metastatic setting, possibly explained by the higher tumor load in this group. Discordances could be attributed to the different gene transcripts used to evaluate CTC positivity. Our results indicate the importance of CTC heterogeneity for their detection by different analytical methodologies.
This article was published in Breast Cancer Res
and referenced in Journal of Developing Drugs