(HealthDay News) — For chemo-naive patients with non-metastatic breast cancer, the presence of one or more circulating tumor cells is associated with decreased progression-free and overall survival, according to a study published online June 6 in The Lancet Oncology.
Anthony Lucci, M.D., from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues prospectively collected data on circulating tumor cells at the time of definitive surgery, from February 2005 to December 2010, from chemo-naive patients with stage 1 to 3 breast cancer. Findings were correlated with standard tumor characteristics, including size and grade, receptor status, and axillary lymph node status.
The researchers found that no adverse events or complications resulted from blood collections. In 24 percent of the 302 patients, one or more circulating tumor cells were identified, and their detection correlated with decreased progression-free and overall survival (hazard ratios, 4.62 and 4.04, respectively).
“These study results support the idea that information on circulating tumor cells should be included in the staging algorithms for patients with non-metastatic breast cancer, especially since it provides important biological information on the metastatic process,” the authors write.