Circulating Tumor Cells in Bloodstream

The blood test allows us to detect cells, which have left the tumor and entered the bloodstream.

Some of these so-called circulating (epithelial) tumor cells (CETCs / CTCs) may be responsible for metastases (metastatic spread) occurring, and thus responsible for further progression of the disease.

Using the diagnostics to detect and analyze cell count, the extent to which treatment is proving successful can be monitored. For this assessment, the number of circulating cells is determined before therapy start, and this is compared with the number of cells over the course of therapy. The resulting progression of results gives an indication of whether cells are being destroyed by the cancer therapy, i.e. whether the patient is responding to the treatment. Should this not be the case, there is the possibility of testing other substances directly on the circulating tumor cells.

Diagnostics – prior to, during, and after cancer therapy

Some substances are only effective in the treatment of cancer if the tumor exhibits certain properties. Using tests we can determine whether these therapy-relevant properties are exhibited in the tumor cells.

Only 15 ml of EDTA blood needs to be taken from the patient by the treating physician, and this is subsequently analyzed in the diagnostic laboratory.

This test helps each individual patient to find a unique, personalized, and effective therapy and allows for the success of the therapy to be monitored.

The advantages of Circulating Tumor Cell tests are:

  • monitoring of therapy,
  • testing of medicines in advance,
  • determination of therapy-relevant properties and
  • early detection of new tumor activity.

Tests can be employed in the case of almost all solid tumors.

Treatment success can be monitored both before therapy start and over the course of therapy with diagnostics. Tests may also find application in metastatic situations, during hormone and maintenance therapies and watch-and-wait approaches (e.g. in cases of prostate cancer or DCIS-type breast cancer).

The significance of diagnostics has already been proven in 15 studies involving over 940 patients.

1. Request the treatment (by e-mail or in an electronic form) supplemented with your medical information:

      • records of medical history,
      • the latest general clinical, and biochemical blood test.

2. Based on these documents, doctors will make an assessment of your health condition and make the decision on the suitability of the therapy.

The methodology of the circulating tumor cell analysis

Due to the high sensitivity of the techniques involved, CETCs / CTCs can be detected shortly after the diagnosis of a primary tumor, and as such a therapy decision can be made in a good time. This early detection relies mainly on the fact that the test is highly sensitive because the cells from the blood sample are analyzed in real-time, contrasting with other methods where cells tend to be fixed, isolated or enriched. This allows for a quantitative determination of CETCs / CTCs even in the early stages of the disease, and not only once a metastatic stage has been reached.

  1. In addition to circulating epithelial cells, white blood cells (leukocytes) are also found in the blood. After lysis of the erythrocytes (disintegration of the red blood cells), the blood is tested for the presence of epithelial cells. On the surface of epithelial cells, a cell-surface protein (EpCAM) can be found, which is marked in the test process using a fluorescent antibody.
  2. At the same time, propidium iodide is added, which can penetrate through the cell membrane of dead cells, allowing for dead (red/green stained) and living (green stained) cells to be distinguished from one another.
  3. Using a fluorescence microscope, the marked cells can now automatically be identified and counted.
  4. If the diagnostic process is employed several times at defined time intervals, results can give a reflection of therapy success and tumor activity over the course of patient progress.

The Integrative approach

Adverse effects have always been the hard puzzle to solve in most forms of treatment, but integrative medicine has provided us with the opportunity not only to enhance the efficacy of the treatment but to also successfully manage the side effects.

Paying for Circulating Tumor Cells in Bloodstream

The diagnostics of your cancer with this test may be covered by your insurance.

Diagnostics using the test for circulating tumor cells in the bloodstream can be expensive.

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