Researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center are testing a new technique for identifying circulating genetically abnormal cells, which can lead to poor prognosis, in patients with non-small cell lung cancer.
These genetically abnormal cells are most likely circulating tumor cells, shed from a malignant tumor. Increased numbers of these cells were associated with relapse of disease and poorer survival, according to study results.
Identifying these cells using the current FDA-approved test is quite challenging because the current test, which is based on an antibody that adheres to the surface of circulating epithelial cells, is not very sensitive.
In a study published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, Ruth L. Katz, M.D., professor of pathology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, and her colleagues used a fluorescence in situ hybridization method for detection of genetically abnormal cells, without resorting to antibody capture. They found that patients with non-small cell lung cancer had significantly higher levels of circulating abnormal cells than controls, and the numbers of abnormal cells increased with the stage of disease.
: Clinical Cancer Research