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Evaluation of therapeutic efficacy with CytoSorter® circulating tumor cell–capture system in patients with locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Authors Zheng W, Zhang Y, Guo L, Wang S, Fang M, Mao W, Lou J

Received 12 March 2019

Accepted for publication 21 May 2019

Published 27 June 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 5857—5869

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S208409

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Cristina Weinberg

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Nakshatri


Weihui Zheng,1,2 Yibiao Zhang,3 Liang Guo,2 Shengye Wang,4 Meiyu Fang,5 Weimin Mao,1 Jianlin Lou2

1Center of Oncology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou 215000, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Zhejiang Cancer Hospital & Creative Laboratory of Head and Neck Oncology in Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou 310022, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Clinical Laboratory, Jinhua Guangfu Hospital, Jinhua 321000, People’s Republic of China; 4Department of Radiotherapy, Zhejiang Cancer Hospital, Hangzhou 310022, People’s Republic of China; 5Department of Medical Oncology, Zhejiang Cancer Hospital, Hangzhou 310022, People’s Republic of China

Objective: This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of utilizing CytoSorter® system to detect circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and clinical value of CTCs in patients with locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (LAHNSCC).
Methods: 31 patients with LAHNSCC, 12 healthy volunteers, and 6 patients with benign tumor serving as controls were enrolled in this study. CTCs were enriched with the CytoSorter®, a microfluidic based immune capture system. CTC detection was performed before and after induction chemotherapy, as well as after surgery and/or radiotherapy. Correlations between CTC enumerations at different time points and survival outcome and recurrence risk were evaluated. The correlation between CTCs and clinicopathological characteristics was appraised. Follow-up of patients continued until March 2019.
Results: While CTCs were not found in the controls, they were detected in 24 of 31 LAHNSCC patients. CTCs could be used to distinguish diseased people from the healthy (P<0.0001). CTCs were statistically associated with patient age (P=0.037, >60 years old vs<60 years old) and lymph node metastasis (P= 0.034, N0N1 VS N2N3). Most patients had significantly reduced CTCs at the end of treatment. Patients with partial remission of tumor after induction therapy had more CTCs than those with complete remission of tumor. Patients with higher CTCs counts prior to treatment had higher chance of developing local recurrence of tumor after treatment (P=0.0187).
Conclusion: CTCs were successfully isolated in LAHNSCC patients using CytoSorter® system with better sensibility. CTCs can be used to differentiate LAHNSCC patients from those with benign HNSCC tumor or healthy volunteers, and as markers to monitor patient’s response to treatment and predict the local tumor recurrence after treatment. CTC detection at baseline has the greatest prognostic potency in LAHNSCC patients.

Keywords: circulating tumor cells, head and neck carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, induction chemotherapy

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