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  • 1
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: In metastatic breast cancer (MBC), antigen profiles of metastatic tissue and primary tumor differ in up to 20 % of patients. Reassessment of predictive markers, including human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) expression, might help to optimize MBC treatment. While tissue sampling is invasive and often difficult to repeat, circulating tumor cell (CTC) analysis requires only a blood sample and might provide an easy-to-repeat, real-time "liquid biopsy" approach. The present retrospective study was conducted to compare HER2 expression in primary tumors, metastatic tissue, and circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from MBC patients and to analyze the potential impact of HER2 overexpression by CTCs on progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in MBC. METHODS: CTC-positive (five or more CTCs/7.5 mL blood; CellSearch(R), Janssen Diagnostics) MBC patients starting a new line of systemic treatment were eligible for the study. HER2 status of CTCs was determined by immunofluorescence (CellSearch(R)). HER2 status of primary (PRIM) and metastatic (MET) tumor tissue was determined by immunohistochemistry. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Kaplan-Meier plots. RESULTS: One hundred seven patients (median age (range) 57 (33-81) years) were included. 100/107 (93 %) patients were followed-up for a median [95 % confidence interval (CI)] of 28.5 [25.1-40.1] months. Of 37/107 (35 %) CTC-HER2-positive patients only 10 (27 %) were PRIM-HER2-positive. 6/46 (13 %) patients were MET-HER2-positive; only 2/10 (20 %) CTC-HER2-positive patients were MET-HER2-positive. Overall accuracy between CTC-HER2 expression and PRIM-HER2 and MET-HER2 status was 69 % and 74 %, respectively. Kaplan-Meier plots of PFS and OS by CTC-HER2 status revealed significantly longer median [95 % CI] PFS of CTC-HER2-positive versus CTC-HER2-negative patients (7.4 [4.7-13.7] versus 4.34 [3.5-5.9] months; p = 0.035). CTC-HER2-positive status showed no significant difference for OS (13.7 [7.7-30.0] versus 8.7 [5.9-15.3] months; p = 0.287). CONCLUSIONS: HER2 status can change during the course of breast cancer. CTC phenotyping may serve as an easy-to-perform "liquid biopsy" to reevaluate HER2 status and potentially guide treatment decisions. Further, prospective studies are needed.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25972110
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  • 2
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: To prospectively assess circulating tumor cell (CTC) status at baseline (CTCBL) and after one cycle of a new line of systemic therapy (CTC1C), and changes from CTCBL to CTC1C (CTC kinetics, CTCKIN) for their utility in predicting response, progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in metastatic breast cancer (MBC). METHODS: CTCBL and CTC1C status was determined as negative (-) or positive (+) for 〈 5 or 〉/= 5 CTCs/7.5 ml blood using CellSearch (Veridex). CTCKIN was categorized as favorable (CTC1C-) or unfavorable (CTC1C+). Tumor response was to be assessed every 2-3 months using the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) criteria. Statistical analysis focused on the relation between CTC status and CTCKIN, and response, PFS, and OS. RESULTS: 133/393 (34%) patients enrolled were CTCBL+. CTC1C status after one cycle and radiological tumor response were assessed after median (range) periods of 1.2 (0.5-3.2) and 2.9 (0.5-4.8) months, respectively. 57/201 (28%) were CTC1C+. Median [95% confidence interval] PFS and OS (months) were significantly reduced in CTCBL+ vs. CTCBL- patients (PFS 4.7 [3.7-6.1] vs. 7.8 [6.4-9.2]; OS 10.4 [7.9-15.0] vs. 27.2 [22.3-29.9]), and for CTC1C+ vs. CTC1C- patients (PFS 4.3 [3.6-6.0] vs. 8.5 [6.6-10.4]; OS 7.7 [6.4-13.9] vs. 30.6 [22.6-not available]). Unfavorable CTCKIN was significantly associated with progressive disease. Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed prognostic factors for shorter PFS (CTCBL+, persistent CTCs after one cycle, 〉/= 3rd-line therapy, and triple-negative receptor status) and shorter OS (CTCBL+, persistent CTCs after one cycle, bone-and-visceral/local metastases, 〉/= 3rd-line therapy, and triple-negative receptor status). CONCLUSIONS: CTCBL, CTC1C, and CTCKIN are predictive of outcome in MBC. Serial CTC enumeration is useful in tailoring systemic treatment of MBC. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Not applicable.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25015676
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