Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) Test

Science has brought us into the age of ‘Personalised Medicine’ for cancer care

One dot of pen consists of 100,000 cells. Each gram of tumor tissue sheds millions of these CTCs into the bloodstream each day. Those cancer cells that survive in the blood stream are the most aggressive and have the capacity to form cancer in a new tissue or metastasize. Current cancer monitoring methods are reduced to a ‘wait and see’ approach since any forms of scan it cannot detect even few hundred millions of small cancer.

CTC count test is to utilize current technologies in the early detection, individualized diagnosis, and monitoring of cancer.

Circulating Tumour Cells

A simple test will analyze the biology of a patient’s cancer through the collection of a sample of patient blood. Escapee cancer cells in the bloodstream can travel to another site in the body and grow a second tumor at a later stage, called a metastasis. These escaped cancer cells in the blood are called Circulating Tumour Cells, abbreviated as ‘CTCs.’

Circulating Tumour Cells are fast being recognized as the instigators of cancer progression. These cells have been likened to Cancer Stem Cells are responsible for the formation of metastasis.  CTCs have a different biology to cells in the primary tumor and thus can detect resistant to the treatment of choice.

Science also brought us into the age of ‘Personalised Medicine’ of advances in Molecular Medicine to clinical practice, thus assisting health practitioners in optimizing treatment outcomes and patient care.

Thus far, it has been impossible to predict how two people with the same type of cancer will respond to treatment. Through the analysis of CTCs it is possible to provide clinicians with information to help overcome this challenge. CTCs contain all the information for the establishment of secondary cancer.  Therefore, with the use of new molecular technology, it is now possible to determine the exact nature of a patient’s actively metastasizing cancer cell population (CTCs)

The test uses the most advanced molecular medicine techniques to:

  • Provide a Circulating Tumour Cell (CTC) ‘count’ to follow up and monitor the effectiveness of a person’s treatment
  • Analyze an individual person’s cancer cell response to chemotherapeutic agents and selected botanicals via in-vitro chemosensitivity testing
  • Identify tumour biomarkers present, giving the practitioner valuable information about the presence of specific targets for individualized treatment, and about the genetics of an individual person’s cancer.
  • Each patient’s cancer is unique. This is the reason that two people with the ‘same’ type of cancer will respond differently to the same treatment. Cancer subtypes differentiate not only to the individual person but also to the individual cell within the one cancer. For years, health practitioners have been battling with having to give standard treatments to treat a disease that manifests differently in each patient. Current detection methods miss the early stages of cancer entirely. Current treatment methods are based on population statistics rather than cancer biology.

CTC Count Test

Escapee cancer cells in the blood, or ‘CTCs’ as they are known, can be found by a simple blood test. A CTC Count test finds existing escaped cancer cells (CTCs) in a blood sample and counts them.

Monitoring changes in cancer activity over time is made easy with this test

A CTC Count every 3-6 months is the best way to:

  • Monitor the effectiveness of cancer treatment
  • Assess changes in cancer aggressiveness
  • Determine risk of cancer spread, recurrence or relapse

CTCs are a subpopulation of tumour cells derived from the primary cancer site that have:

  • Detached from the primary tumour mass
  • Adopted genetic mutations that enabled migration through the basement membrane (epithelial tumours) and extracellular matrix
  • Dedifferentiated or undergone the Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (carcinoma derived cells only)
  • Entered into the peripheral blood stream where the circulate as tumor cells with metastatic potential – this is the point at which they are termed ‘Circulating Tumour Cells’ (CTCs).
  • Have the potential to disseminate and proliferate as a metastatic lesion
  • Can stimulate angiogenesis
  • May have stem-cell like or tumor-initiating properties

Molecular test for cancer

The future in cancer management is individualizing diagnosis and treatment through the application of a molecular diagnostic test.

Information on the genetic activity of a person’s cancer assists practitioners in gaining an understanding of the unique behavior of a person’s cancer cells. The biomarkers that are available for testing include Estrogen Receptor, HER2/neu, Androgen Receptor, VEGF Receptor, EGF Receptor, ki-67, PLAP and BRaf mutations. This test can only be requested addition to the CTC-count test.

The testing is reported by a laboratory in Germany. The method is accredited to the standard of ISO 15189 (DAkkS) Standards Malaysia, NATA (the Australian Accredited Authority) and DAkkS (the German Accredited Authority) are signatories to ILAC (the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation) and their MRA (Mutual Recognition Agreement) for further info :