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Circulating Tumor Cell Test

The term simple comes to mind when I think of the circulating tumor cell (CTC) test, simple because of the ease of extracting a blood sample, yet complex in what that small blood sample may provide. The CTC test, developed by Veridex, LLC a Johnson & Johnson Company, captures, assesses, and determines a prognosis for people with some of the horrific cancers, like metastatic breast, prostate and colorectal.

Named as the top medical innovation in 2009 by the Cleveland Clinic, this test in now widely available and this writer suggests that you ask your oncologist if this test has been performed and if not, why?

According to Delena Roth Communications Manager for Clinical Diagnostics at Johnson & Johnson, “Cellular Diagnostics focuses on identifying specific types of cells and their abnormalities. One example of its role in disease detection is found with the detection and enumeration of circulating tumor cells (CTCs), cancer cells that have broken away from an existing tumor and have entered into the bloodstream. The presence of CTCs in the blood can provide valuable insight into the progression of metastatic cancer, a type of cancer that has spread from one tumor to other parts of the body and is most common in the late stages of disease.”

Roth states “CellSearch® results should be used in conjunction with all clinical information derived from diagnostic tests (e.g., imaging, laboratory tests), physical examination, and complete medical history in accordance with appropriate patient management procedures. The CellSearch® CTC Test has not been approved to demonstrate that any line of therapy is any more/less effective than any other or no therapy. CellSearch® results and imaging results are not equivalent in assessing the transition of patients between non-progressive disease and progressive disease.”

As I always recommend, speak with your oncologist, seek advice, and remember that knowledge is power.

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