Circulating tumor cells in lung cancer are prognostic and predictive for worse tumor response in both targeted- and chemotherapy

Menno Tamminga, Sanne de Wit, Ed Schuuring, Wim Timens, Leon W. M. M. Terstappen, T. Jeroen N. Hiltermann, Harry J. M. Groen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: It is unknown whether the presence of circulating tumor cells (CTC), a known prognostic factor, influences treatment outcome. We investigated whether baseline CTC in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) or chemotherapy was associated with response to therapy.

Methods: We included consecutive advanced NSCLC patients, stratified by therapy. Before treatment the number of CTC was measured by CellSearch. Tumor response rates, progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in patients with and without CTC at baseline were compared.

Results: We included 86 patients (34 treated by TKI). Response rates of patients with CTC were lower than in patients without CTC (OR =0.22, P

Conclusions: Presence of CTC in advanced NSCLC patients is associated with low response rates, shorter PFS and OS, independent of the received therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)854-+
Number of pages10
JournalTranslational lung cancer research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2019


  • Circulating tumor cell (CTC)
  • non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
  • tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI)
  • liquid biopsy
  • chemotherapy
  • DNA

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