Analysis of Single Circulating Tumour Cells isolated from Gastro-Intestinal Cancer Patients

Petra Hartmann1, Karin Görner1, Claudia Holzhauer1, Jeannine Bachmann2, Marc Martignoni2, Marianna Alunni-Fabbroni1
1 Beckman Coulter Biomedical GmbH, Germany; 2 Klinikum rechts der Isar Technische Universität, Munich Germany


The gastro-intestinal (oesophageal, gastric, liver and pancreatic) tumours, with generally short life expectation after diagnosis, are among the most aggressive cancers known so far, showing one of the highest mortality grades. The discovery of the tumour is possible through standard imaging analysis such as CT, MRT, (Endo)-sonography, ERCP and PET. At the moment, early diagnosis and surgery are the only possibility of recovery. In recent years, circulating tumour cells (CTCs) came more and more into focus because of their association with tumour growth and metastasis. It became clear very soon that early diagnosis and prognosis of the disease could be based on their detection. Despite CTCs may play a key role in tumour development, little is known about their gene expression profile. In the present study, single circulating tumour cells, isolated directly from blood of gastrointestinal cancer patients, were analysed by real-time PCR. Aim of this study was to characterize the CTC expression pattern, detecting possible variations in transcript levels, also with respect to the primary tumour. The identification of changes in the gene expression of CTCs might represent a powerful diagnostic tool leading to a more targeted and personalized therapy.

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