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Krebs M.G.,Paterson Institute for Cancer Research | Krebs M.G.,Christie National Health Service Foundation Trust | Krebs M.G.,University of Manchester | Krebs M.G.,Manchester Cancer Research Center | And 74 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Oncology | Year: 2011

Purpose Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) lacks validated biomarkers to predict treatment response. This study investigated whether circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are detectable in patients with NSCLC and what their ability might be to provide prognostic information and/or early indication of patient response to conventional therapy. Patients and Methods In this single-center prospective study, blood samples for CTC analysis were obtained from 101 patients with previously untreated, stage III or IV NSCLC both before and after administration of one cycle of standard chemotherapy. CTCs were measured using a semiautomated, epithelial cell adhesion molecule-based immunomagnetic technique. Results The number of CTCs in 7.5 mL of blood was higher in patients with stage IV NSCLC (n=60; range, 0 to 146) compared with patients with stage IIIB (n=27; range, 0 to 3) or IIIA disease (n=14; no CTCs detected). In univariate analysis, progression-free survival was 6.8 v 2.4 months with P < .001, and overall survival (OS) was 8.1 v 4.3 months with P < .001 for patients with fewer than five CTCs compared with five or more CTCs before chemotherapy, respectively. In multivariate analysis, CTC number was the strongest predictor of OS (hazard ratio [HR], 7.92; 95% CI, 2.85 to 22.01; P < .001), and the point estimate of the HR was increased with incorporation of a second CTC sample that was taken after one cycle of chemotherapy (HR, 15.65; 95% CI, 3.63 to 67.53; P < .001). Conclusion CTCs are detectable in patients with stage IV NSCLC and are a novel prognostic factor for this disease. Further validation is warranted before routine clinical application. © 2011 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Harrison L.R.E.,Paterson Institute for Cancer Research | Harrison L.R.E.,Manchester Cancer Research Center | Harrison L.R.E.,Manchester Academic Health science Center | Micha D.,Paterson Institute for Cancer Research | And 39 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Investigation | Year: 2011

Solid tumors contain hypoxic regions in which cancer cells are often resistant to chemotherapy-induced apoptotic cell death. Therapeutic strategies that specifically target hypoxic cells and promote apoptosis are particularly appealing, as few normal tissues experience hypoxia. We have found that the compound ABT-737, a Bcl-2 homology domain 3 (BH-3) mimetic, promotes apoptotic cell death in human colorectal carcinoma and small cell lung cancer cell lines exposed to hypoxia. This hypoxic induction of apoptosis was mediated through downregulation of myeloid cell leukemia sequence 1 (Mcl-1), a Bcl-2 family protein that serves as a biomarker for ABT-737 resistance. Downregulation of Mcl-1 in hypoxia was independent of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) activity and was consistent with decreased global protein translation. In addition, ABT-737 induced apoptosis deep within tumor spheroids, consistent with an optimal hypoxic oxygen tension being necessary to promote ABT-737-induced cell death. Tumor xenografts in ABT-737-treated mice also displayed significantly more apoptotic cells within hypoxic regions relative to normoxic regions. Synergies between ABT-737 and other cytotoxic drugs were maintained in hypoxia, suggesting that this drug may be useful in combination with chemotherapeutic agents. Taken together, these findings suggest that Mcl-1-sparing BH-3 mimetics may induce apoptosis in hypoxic tumor cells that are resistant to other chemotherapeutic agents and may have a role in combinatorial chemotherapeutic regimens for treatment of solid tumors.

Krebs M.G.,Paterson Institute for Cancer Research | Krebs M.G.,University of Manchester | Krebs M.G.,Manchester Cancer Research Center | Krebs M.G.,Christie NHS Foundation Trust | And 21 more authors.
Journal of Thoracic Oncology | Year: 2012

Introduction: Epithelial circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are detectable in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, epithelial to mesenchymal transition, a widely reported prerequisite for metastasis, may lead to an underestimation of CTC number. We compared directly an epithelial marker-dependent (CellSearch) and a marker-independent (isolation by size of epithelial tumor cells [ISET]) technology platform for the ability to identify CTCs. Molecular characteristics of CTCs were also explored. Methods: Paired peripheral blood samples were collected from 40 chemonäive, stages IIIA to IV NSCLC patients. CTCs were enumerated by Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-based immunomagnetic capture (CellSearch, Veridex) and by filtration (ISET, RareCell Diagnostics). CTCs isolated by filtration were assessed by immunohistochemistry for epithelial marker expression (cytokeratins, Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule, epidermal growth factor receptor) and for proliferation status (Ki67). Results: CTCs were detected using ISET in 32 of 40 (80%) patients compared with 9 of 40 (23%) patients using CellSearch. A subpopulation of CTCs isolated by ISET did not express epithelial markers. Circulating tumor microemboli (CTM, clusters of ≥3 CTCs) were observed in 43% patients using ISET but were undetectable by CellSearch. Up to 62% of single CTCs were positive for the proliferation marker Ki67, whereas cells within CTM were nonproliferative. Conclusions: Both technology platforms detected NSCLC CTCs. ISET detected higher numbers of CTCs including epithelial marker negative tumor cells. ISET also isolated CTM and permitted molecular characterization. Combined with our previous CellSearch data confirming CTC number as an independent prognostic biomarker for NSCLC, we propose that this complementary dual technology approach to CTC analysis allows more complete exploration of CTCs in patients with NSCLC. Copyright © 2012 by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

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