Clinical significance of circulating tumor cells in patients with small-cell lung cancer



This study investigated the correlation of the presence of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) with clinical characteristics, and the predictive value of CTCs for progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC).


Samples were obtained from 42 patients with SCLC before and after the first cycle of chemotherapy. CTCs were quantitated by negative immunomagnetic enrichment and immunocytochemistry using anti-CD45 and anti-pancytokeratin antibodies.


CTCs were positive (≥2) in 76.19% of patients with SCLC and negative in the control group. The presence of CTCs was positively correlated with 6 clinical characteristics. PFS was 6.055 and 10.670 months for patients with ≥2 and <2 CTCs/7.5 mL of blood before chemotherapy; after chemotherapy PFS was 4.862 and 10.535 months, respectively.


This study showed that both baseline CTC numbers and the change in CTC numbers after 1 cycle of chemotherapy are significant prognostic factors of PFS for SCLC.

Tumori 2017; 103(3): 242 - 248




Yu-Li Wang, Chun-Hua Liu, Jing Li, Xiao-Ping Ma, Ping Gong

Article History


Financial support: This work was financially supported by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Science and Technology Program Special Fund (No. 2012BA042).
Conflict of interest: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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  • Department of Oncology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical School, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan - China
  • Department of Radiation Oncology, People’s Hospital of Xinjiang Uygyr Autonomous Region, Uygyr - China
  • Department of Oncology, Shihezi University School of Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital, Shihezi - China
  • Yu-Li Wang and Chun-Hua Liu are co-first authors of this article.

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