Posts Tagged ‘monitoring’

Is Non-Surgical Diagnosis of Brain Tumors Possible?

Friday, April 27th, 2012

The results of a pilot study published in the online edition of Neuro-Oncology demonstrated that brain tumors can be reliably diagnosed and monitored without surgery. Previously unavailable or unreliable the researchers said ” We are excited about the potential that this test has to ease the process of detecting and monitoring brain tumors.” “The test needs to be further developed before it is used in a clinical setting, but I expect it could be particularly valuable for patients who are not surgical candidates.”

In the pilot study of 118 patients with different types of brain tumors, the researchers showed that micro RNA profiling of cerebrospinal fluid can be used to determine the presence of glioblastoma, the most common and lethal form of brain cancer. The micro or tiny RNA molecules are excellent bio markers for various conditions and their levels can be accurately measured in body fluids so it is a simple and inexpensive procedure. This same process could be used to detect the presence of cancer that started in another body site and spread to the brain as well as monitoring the tumor during treatment.

Can a Blood Test Replace the More Invasive Biopsy to Detect Cancer?

Friday, February 10th, 2012

New research published in the journal Physical Biology concluded that an advanced blood test that detects and analyzes circulating tumor cells in the blood of cancer patients was highly sensitive and may provide information comparable to that obtained in surgical biopsies when tested in 5 settings. The new test called HD-CTC labels cells in a patient’s blood in a way that distinguishes circulating tumor cells from ordinary red and white blood cells. It then uses a digital microscope and an image-processing algorithm to isolate the suspect cells with sizes and shapes unlike those of healthy cells so that the pathologist can examine the images of the suspect CTC cells to eliminate false positives. This process is similar to that used by a pathologist with biopsy slides.
To test the technology, five studies were carried out in California, Montana and in the Netherlands.
In the first study researchers examined 83 advanced cancer patients using HD-CTC to document the sensitivity and accuracy for different cancer types. Researchers found that the test detected five or more CTCs per milliliter of blood in 80% of patients with metastatic prostate cancer, 70% of those with metastatic breast cancer, 50% of those with metastatic pancreatic cancer and no healthy subjects. The current gold-standard CTC test (CellSearch) was notably less sensitive in detecting tumor cells in the samples.
Most patients whose CTC count surpassed the detection threshold also showed small aggregates of CTCs, which cancer biologists call “microtumor emboli” that are believed to be incipient metastatic tumors and triggers for blood clots that often kill advanced cancer patients. In study 2, scientist showed that HD-CTC could detect these aggregates in 43% of 71 patients with advanced prostate, lung, pancreas, and breast cancers and in none of a group of 14 healthy subjects.
In the third study, HD-CTC was used to compare circulating tumor cells from prostate cancer patients with cells from prostate cancer cell lines often used as convenient models for prostate cancer biology in the lab. Significant differences were found between the two classes of cells, in their cell morphology and in the way they were labeled by HD-CTC fluorescent tags. These results underscore the need when carrying out research to use cells from cancer patients and not model cancer cells that may be different from the real thing.
Researchers performed HD-CTC tests on 28 patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer over periods up to a year in the fourth study. They were able to detect CTCs in 68% of the sample, and the numbers of detected CTCs tended to go up as other measures showed cancer progression.
In the last study the researchers used HD-CTC in 78 patients who had just been diagnosed with various stages of non-small cell lung cancer and that demonstrated that they could detect CTCs even in patients with early stage cancer.
The five studies not only demonstrated the accuracy and effectiveness of the test for a number of different cancer types, it began to explore the utility of the technology for diagnosing and monitoring patients and improving cancer research in the laboratory.