Secondary Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) but not Primary CTCs are Associated with the Clinico-Pathological Parameters in Chilean Patients With Colo-Rectal Cancer

  • Murray, Nigel P (Hematology, Hospital de Carabineros de Chile, Faculty of Medicine, University Finis Terrae) ;
  • Albarran, Vidal (Coloproctology, Hospital de Carabineros de Chile) ;
  • Perez, Guillermo (Coloproctology, Hospital de Carabineros de Chile) ;
  • Villalon, Ricardo (Pathology, Hospital de Carabineros de Chile) ;
  • Ruiz, Amparo (Pathology, Hospital de Carabineros de Chile)
  • Published : 2015.06.26


Background: The aim of this study was to assess detection of circulating tumor cells (CTC) using anti-CEA pre and post surgery in Chilean patients with colo-rectal cancer. Materials and Methods: The presence of CTCs was evaluated in 80 colorectal cancer patients pre and post surgery using standard immunocytochemistry and the results were compared with findings for standard clinico-pathological parameters. Results: In patients presurgery CEA (+) CTCs were frequently found, with no relation to tumor size or nodal status. After surgery, the presence of CTCs was associated with such clinico-pathological parameters. The frequency of CTC detection in node positive patients did not change after surgery. In patients with metastasis there was also no change in the frequency of CTC detection, and clusters of 3 or more CTCs were evident. Conclusions: Secondary CTCs are associated with clinico-pathological parameters only after surgical removal of the primary tumor, and might be important in identifying patients at high risk of relapse. Primary CTCs detected before surgical removal are frequently found, are not associated with the clinico-pathological parameters and might have a role in cancer screening. These findings suggest the need for studies with a larger population of patients.


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