Fox Case Cancer CenterOne of the most hazardous traits of cancer is its capability to metastasize, or transmit through the body. For this purpose, oncologists want to conduct superior tests to identify cells that seem to cut loose from primary tumors to wander around other parts of the body. Effectual recognition of these cells, called as circulating tumor cells (CTC’s), may aid in steering treatment and enhancing standard of life for several cancer patients. A study apparently evaluates the present technology accessible to identify these cells and indicates the requirement for still more progress in this region.

Presently there seems to be only one uniform and authenticated test cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the identification of CTC’s, known as the CellSearch system. CellSearch is claimed to be a plain blood test that captures and examines CTC’s to find out the diagnosis of patients with metastatic breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer at any time. This test, nevertheless, is only able to count CTC’s and consequently extra technologies are supposedly being observed to arrest more cells, diverse populations of the cells, and the gene expression patterns of the cells.

Massimo Cristofanilli, MD, FACP, chair of the department of medical oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center and lead author of the commentary, commented, “The topic of circulating tumor cells has become more and more important as our knowledge of cancer and, in particular, breast cancer has evolved and as the technology to detect these cells has improved. But even though progress has been made, we need even better capabilities to detect these cells, which can tell us so much about the course of a patient’s cancer.”

The expert added, “It’s important for us to look at all of these technologies in a more critical way to see which technologies are best at distinguishing between cells that have simply been shed by the tumor and those that are, instead demonstrating more aggressive.”

By means of technologies that appear to balance one another may also assist in enhancing the process of identifying these cells and plan more customized therapies.

The commentary was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.