To isolate circulating tumor cells (CTC) from women with advanced cervical cancer and estimate the impact of CTCs and treatment on overall survival and progression-free survival (PFS). A total of 7.5 mL of whole blood was drawn pre-cycle 1 and 36 days post-cycle 1 from patients enrolled on Gynecologic Oncology Group 0240, the phase III randomized trial that led directly to regulatory approval of the antiangiogenesis drug, bevacizumab, in women with recurrent/metastatic cervical cancer. CTCs (defined as anti-cytokeratinþ/anti-CD45- cells) were isolated from the buffy coat layer using an anti-EpCAM antibody-conjugated ferrofluid and rare earth magnet, and counted using a semiautomated fluorescence microscope. The median pre-cycle 1 CTC count was 7 CTCs/7.5 mL whole blood (range, 0–18) and, at 36 days posttreatment, was 4 (range, 0–17). The greater the declination in CTCs between time points studied, the lower the risk of death [HR, 0.87; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.79–0.95)]. Among patients with high (≥ median) pretreatment CTCs, bevacizumab treatment was associated with a reduction in the hazard of death (HR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.32–1.03) and PFS (HR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.36–0.96). This effect was not observed with low (< median) CTCs. CTCs can be isolated from women with advanced cervical cancer and may have prognostic significance. A survival benefit conferred by bevacizumab among patients with high pretreatment CTCs may reflect increased tumor neovascularization and concomitant vulnerability to VEGF inhibition. These data support studying CTC capture as a potential predictive biomarker.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research