According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer claims approximately 27,000 of us each year, the vast majority of our deaths are a result of recurrent metastatic disease. Metastatic prostate cancer occurs when tumor cells spread to other locations in the body and start to grow.
Currently, when you start Chemotherapy the only way to know if you are responding to the treatment is to use CT Scans which evaluate disease and tumor progression. Results of these scans can take 8 to 12 weeks before your oncologist can evaluate if your disease has progressed. PSA results, especially with advanced disease, are not reliable.
Immunicon Corporation today announced that the FDA has cleared the CellSearch(TM) Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) Kit as an aid in the monitoring of patients with metastatic prostate cancer.
A sample of the blood is processed with the Kit, which counts tumor cells that are circulating in the blood stream (CTCs). Patients with 5 or more CTCs at baseline and at 3-4 weeks after the initiation of chemotherapy have significantly shorter overall survival times and faster disease progression than patients with less than 5 CTCs. The presence of CTCs at any time during the course of the disease is a strong independent predictor of future disease progression.
The CellSearch CTC kit was originally cleared in January 2004 to predict progression-free and overall survival in patients with metastatic breast cancer and later expanded to include monitoring. In November 2007, the kit was cleared by the FDA for monitoring metastatic colorectal cancer.
Byron D. Hewett, CEO and President of Immunicon Corporation, commented, “Because the three pivotal trials demonstrated that the CellSearch test predicts survival in prostate, breast and colorectal cancers, circulating tumor cell testing should become standard of care in the management of patients with metastatic disease. More importantly, oncologists can use the results to make better informed treatment decisions and improve patient care for three of the top carcinomas.”
In cases where CTC and PSA change were discordant, CTC change provided the most accurate assessment of prognosis.
Joel T Nowak MA, MSW