Researchers in the UCLA Departments of Surgery and Molecular and Medical Pharmacology have developed a novel blood-based assay that can capture and characterize circulating tumor cells indicative of both early- and late-staged hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common type of cancer, the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths, and among the top twenty causes of death worldwide. Additionally, occurrences of HCC in the United States have nearly doubled over the past twenty years. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs), which spread throughout the body during metastasis and can be used to characterize several types of cancer, provide minimal details about HCC prognosis. Many general CTC capture assays measure the expression of epithelial cell adhesion molecule, a cell-surface marker on cancerous cells, but only 20-35% of HCC CTCs express this marker. As a result, epithelial detection leads to the capture of CTCs from only 20-40% of patients with HCC. The use of non-epithelial detection methods, however, has been shown to yield higher CTC capture rates and, consequently, provides more effective information about HCC prognosis.
Researchers at UCLA have developed a novel blood-based assay that can capture and characterize circulating tumor cells indicative of both early- and late-staged HCC from 96.7% of HCC patients, as compared to the 20-35% capture rate achieved by employing solely epithelial marker detection methodologies. This assay utilizes a multi-marker antibody cocktail that has led to the capture of CTCs in 96.7% of patients with HCC. An additional benefit of the assay is its ability to analyze a heterogenous CTC population: the assay can discriminate among HCC patients, NMLD (non-malignant liver disease) patients, and healthy patients.
circulating tumor cell; hepatocellular carcinoma; hepatocellular carcinoma prognosis; phenotype; biomarker; liquid biopsy; mesenchymal cell