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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 21

of 'Prognostic and predictive factors in metastatic breast cancer'

Circulating tumor cells in metastatic breast cancer: from prognostic stratification to modification of the staging system?
Dawood S, Broglio K, Valero V, Reuben J, Handy B, Islam R, Jackson S, Hortobagyi GN, Fritsche H, Cristofanilli M
Cancer. 2008;113(9):2422.
BACKGROUND: The aim of the current study was to assess the prognostic value of baseline circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in a large cohort of patients with newly diagnosed metastatic breast cancer (MBC).
METHODS: This retrospective study included 185 patients with newly diagnosed MBC evaluated between 2001 and 2007. CTCs were isolated and enumerated before patients started first-line treatment using the CellSearch system. Overall survival (OS) was calculated from the date of CTC measurement, estimated by the Kaplan-Meier product limit method, and compared between groups with the log-rank test. Cox proportional hazards models were fitted to determine the association between CTC levels and OS after controlling for other prognostic factors.
RESULTS: The median age of the patients at the time of MBC diagnosis was 49 years. Fifty-six (30.3%) patients presented with de novo metastatic disease, and 129 (69.7%) presented with newly recurrent breast cancer. A total of 114 patients (61.6%) had CTC<5, and 71 (38.4%)had CTC>or= 5. The median OS was 28.3 months and 15 months (P<.0001) for patients with CTC<5 and CTC>or= 5, respectively. Superior survival among patients with CTC<5 was observed regardless of hormone receptor and HER-2/neu status, site of first metastases, or whether the patient had recurrent or de novo metastatic disease. In the multivariate model, patients with CTC>or= 5 had a hazards ratio of death of 3.64 (95% confidence interval, 2.11-6.30) compared with patients with CTC<5.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this large retrospective study confirms that CTCs are a strong independent predictor of survival among women with either de novo or newly recurrent MBC. CTCs should be considered as a new stratification method for women with newly diagnosed MBC.
Department of Breast Medical Oncology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA. Shaheenah_d@yahoo.com