The presence of circulating tumor cells (CTC) in a patient with lung cancer may eventually be a useful aid in evaluating a patient with lung cancer.


The technology involves:

(1) Isolation of tumor cells that are circulating in the peripheral, often at very low levels.

(2) Quantitation of the tumor cells (by immunohistochemistry with antibodies to cytokeratin, PCR for mRNA, or other method).




To evaluate a patient prior to surgery to resect a lung cancer.

A patient with no or very low CTC may have a better prognosis than a patient with high CTC.

To identify a patient following surgical resection who may benefit from chemoradiation.

Persistence of CTC after surgery indicates a patient who may benefit from chemoradiation.

To determine the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

Effective therapy should cause a prompt drop in CTC. The CTC may not change or even increase if therapy is ineffective.

To detect recurrence early.

The appearance of CTC from negative levels or an upward trend in levels may indicate a recurrence before it is clinically evident.


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