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Shu-Ping Li, Quan-lin Guan, Da Zhao, Guang-Jun Pei, Hong-Xin Su, Lan-Ning Du, Jin-Xiang He, Zhao-Chen Liu
(Department of Radiation Oncology, First Hospital of Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu, China (mainland))
Med Sci Monit 2016; 22:1654-1662
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are tumor cells that leave the primary tumor site and enter the bloodstream, where they can spread to other organs; they are very important in the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of malignant tumors. However, few studies have investigated CTCs in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). The aim of this study was to investigate the CTCs in blood of ESCC patients and its potential relevance to clinicopathological features and prognosis.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: CTCs were acquired by a negative enrichment method that used magnetic activated cell sorting (MACSTM). Fluorescent immunohistochemistry (IHC) was used to identify the CTCs. Then, the positive CTC patients with ESCC were analyzed, after which the relationship between CTCs and clinicopathologic features was evaluated.
RESULTS: In the present study, 62 out of 140 (44.3%) patients with ESCC were positive for CTCs. The positive rate of CTCs was significantly related with stage of ESCC patients (P=0.013). However, there was no relationship between CTC status and age, sex, smoking tumor history, tumor location, differentiation of tumor, lymphatic invasion, or lymph venous invasion (P>0.05). Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that patients positive for CTCs had significantly shorter survival time than patients negative for CTCs. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that stage and CTC status were significant prognostic factors for patients with ESCC.
CONCLUSIONS: CTCs positivity is an independent prognostic biomarker that indicates a worse prognosis for patients with ESCC.