Number of Circulating Tumor Cells Up After Surgery in SCCHN

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Number of Circulating Tumor Cells Up After Surgery in SCCHN
Number of Circulating Tumor Cells Up After Surgery in SCCHN

FRIDAY, June 17, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Most patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) have an increase in the number of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) after surgical resection, according to a study published online June 5 in Head & Neck.

Kris R. Jatana, M.D., from the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues identified cytokeratin-positive CTCs using a negative depletion technique. They compared the numbers of CTCs immediately before and after surgical resection using blood samples from 38 patients with SCCHN.

The researchers found that 79 percent of patients had CTCs before and after surgery. Overall, 7.89 percent of patients had no CTCs before surgery but did have CTCs after surgery. After surgery there was an increased number of CTCs/mL in 60.5 percent of patients, with a 6.63-fold mean increase (P = 0.02).

"The timing of blood sample collection for such solid cancers that undergo surgical intervention, such as SCCHN, can potentially impact the number of CTCs identified," the authors write. "Although a prognostic blood test for CTCs could have important treatment and surveillance implications, the viability and clinical significance of potentially surgically released CTCs in SCCHN is still not known."

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