Blood tests for circulating tumour cells

Circulating tumour cells sparked scientific interest over 50 years ago,
and their detection and analysis is proving to be an invaluable tool in the individualisation of cancer diagnosis and treatment. These cells, which can be detected and isolated from a sample of blood, are a sub-population of tumour cells derived from the primary cancer site, which have entered into the peripheral blood stream. Here they circulate as tumour cells with metastatic potential. They cells have stem-cell like properties, and the potential to generate new disease.

The detection, quantification and identification of circulating tumour cells in the blood stream can provide additional information to help with:

• Screening for new cancers eg; as an adjunct to breast imaging
• Diagnosis eg; where the primary tumour is unknown or not accessible for biopsy and histological assessment
• Monitoring eg; for ‘minimal residual disease’ assessment ie; residual
cancer activity which is not visible by standard imaging methods

RGCC uses a well established method called flow cytometry. A standard panel of markers is used to detect and identify circulating tumour cells. In addition, tests for specific malignancies are also offered for the following cancers: Breast, Prostate, Sarcomas,
Colorectal, Malignant melanoma.