A study published in the October 2012 Annals of Oncology compared levels of CTCs with levels of CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) to see how the two tests compared or could be used together to predict survival times in metastatis CRC.
Results in 217 patients with metastatic CRC showed that at the beginning of treatment, CTC numbers alone–not CEA levels–could accurately predict length of survival. But when patients had a high initial level of CEA levels, adding the CTC number helped predict which patients would survive longer. At the 6-12 week mark, each test alone could accurately predict prognosis.
The study’s second author and member of FCRC’s Medical Advisory Board, Dr. Neal Meropol, noted that, in clinical practice, he tends to rely more on CT scans and MRIs for metastatic CRC treatment decisions, but that CTCs seem to be a good indicator for overall prognosis. Read the rest of this entry »