A "live" biopsy in a small-cell lung cancer patient by detection of circulating tumor cells

Simona Bevilacqua, Marianna Gallo, Renato Franco, Antonio Rossi, Antonella De Luca, Gaetano Rocco, Gerardo Botti, Cesare Gridelli, Nicola Normanno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A 71-year-old patient with a pulmonary lesion was diagnosed with a low-grade neuroendocrine tumor following examination of a fine needle aspiration biopsy. Analysis of a peripheral blood sample with the CellSearch™ system revealed the presence of putative circulating tumor cells (CTC) that were positive for EpCAM and cytokeratin (CK) expression. Since EpCAM is not usually expressed in neuroendocrine tumors, we performed a biopsy of liver metastases. Morphological and immunophenotypical characterization revealed that the patient had an EpCAM and CK positive small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). By using the CellSearch™ apparatus, EpCAM/CK positive CTC were detected in peripheral blood samples from 3 out of 4 additional SCLC patients. This study is the first to demonstrate that CTC can be identified in SCLC patients by using the CellSearch™ system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-125
Number of pages3
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


  • Circulating tumor cells
  • Diagnosis
  • SCLC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research

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