Detection and phenotyping of circulating tumor cells in high-risk localized prostate cancer

Publication: Clin Genitourin Cancer


Background: In this study, we aimed to determine the feasibility of identifying CTCs in patients with HRLPC, using a modified isolation procedure using the CellSearch (Veridex) platform, and to assess the expression of stem cell and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers on the CTCs.

Patients and methods: Thirty-five patients with HRLPC who had chosen prostatectomy for definitive management were prospectively identified. After obtaining consent, four 30-mL blood draws were performed, 2 before surgery and 2 after surgery. The CTC-containing fraction was Ficoll-purified and transferred to a CellSave (Veridex) tube containing dilution buffer before standard enumeration using the CellSearch system. Loss of E-cadherin expression, a marker of EMT, and CD133, a putative prostate cancer stem cell marker, were characterized using the open channel of the CellSearch platform. CTC fragments were also enumerated.

Results: Using the modified methodology, CTCs were detectable in 49% of patients before surgery. Although no correlation between CTC count and biochemical recurrence (BR) was observed, the percentages of CD133 and E-cadherin-positive CTC fragments were associated with BR at 1 year.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that further research into the development of CTCs as prognostic biomarkers in HRLPC is warranted.

By Sumanta K Pal, Miaoling He, Timothy Wilson, Xueli Liu, Keqiang Zhang, Courtney Carmichael, Alejandra Torres, Sonya Hernandez, Clayton Lau, Neeraj Agarwal, Mark Kawachi, Yun Yen & Jeremy O Jones