Diagnostic Yield of Primary Circulating Tumor Cells in Women Suspected of Breast Cancer: the BEST (Breast Early Screening Test) Study

  • Murray, Nigel P (Hematology, Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University Mayor, Hospital de Carabineros de Chile) ;
  • Miranda, Roxana (Breast Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University Mayor, Hospital de Carabineros de Chile) ;
  • Ruiz, Amparo (Pathology Service, Faculty of Medicine, University Mayor, Hospital de Carabineros de Chile) ;
  • Droguett, Elsa (Diagnostic Radiology, Faculty of Medicine, University Mayor, Hospital de Carabineros de Chile)
  • Published : 2015.03.18


Purpose: To determine the diagnostic yield of primary circulating tumor cells in women with suspicion of breast cancer, detected as a result of an abnormal mammography. Materials and Methods: Consecutive women presenting for breast biopsy as a result of a mammogram BiRADs of 3 or more, had an 8ml blood sample taken for primary circulating tumor cell (CTC) detection. Mononuclear cells were obtained using differential gel centrifugation and CTCs identified using standard immunocytochemistry using anti-mammoglobin. A test was determined to be positive if 1 CTC was detected. Results: A total of 144 women with a mean age of $54.7{\pm}15.6$ years participated, 78/144 (53.0%) had breast cancer on biopsy, 65/140 (46.3%) benign pathologies and 1(0.7%) non-Hogkins lymphoma. Increasing BiRADs scores were associated with increased cancer detection (p=0.004, RR 1.00, 4.24, 8.50). CTC mammoglobin positive had a sensitivity of 81.1% and specificity of 90.9%, with positive and negative predictive values of 90.9% and 81.1% respectively. Mammoglobin positive CTCs detected 87% of invasive cancers, while poorly differentiated cancers were negative for mammoglobin. Only 50% of in situ cancers and none of the intraductal cancers had CTCs detected. Menopausal status did not affect the diagnostic yield of the CTC test, which was higher in women with BiRADS 4 mammograms. There was a significant trend (p<0.0001 Chi squared for trends) in CTC detection frequency from intraductal, in situ and invasive (OR 1.00, 8.00, 472.00). Conclusions: The use of primary CTC detection in women suspected of breast cancer has potential uses, especially with invasive cancer, but it failed to detect intra-ductal cancer and 50% of in situ cancer. There was no difference in the diagnostic yield between pre and post menopausal women. To confirm its use in reducing biopsies in women with BIRADs 4a mammagrams and in the detection of interval invasive breast cancer, larger studies are needed.


Breast cancer detection;circulating tumor cells;mammogram;mammaglobin;BiRADS


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