A novel method for monitoring response to chemotherapy based on the detection of circulating cancer cells: A case report

Angelo Aquino, S. P. Prete, A. Balduzzi, E. Fossile, V. Formica, F. Torino, L. Bonmassar, A. Di Giacomo, D. Cappelletti, A. Cardillo, G. Graziani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We describe a novel method for detecting micrometastasis in the blood stream of cancer patients based on RT-PCR amplification of tumor-associated carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) mRNA. To increase sensitivity and specificity of RT-PCR, CEA transcript was selectively up-regulated in cancer cells by exposure of peripheral blood to non-toxic concentrations of staurosporine (ST). Thereafter, polyA(+) RNA was extracted from tumor cells captured by means of magnetic beads coated with a monoclonal antibody against a common human epithelial antigen. Finally, RNA was subjected to RT-PCR analysis of CEA transcript. Using this approach, we demonstrated an ST-mediated increase in CEA transcript in blood specimens collected from a patient with metastatic colon cancer before receiving treatment with 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin. After a few cycles of chemotherapy, CEA-positive tumor cells were no longer detected. Clinical follow-up of this patient indicated that treatment with chemotherapy induced a dramatic reduction in liver metastasis. Therefore, it can be hypothesized that lack of CEA transcript detection might be consistent with disappearance or at least marked reduction of circulating tumor cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-416
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Chemotherapy
Volume14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2002

Keywords

  • CEA
  • Immunomagnetic isolation
  • RT-PCR
  • Staurosporine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Microbiology (medical)

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