Indexed on: 30 Mar '17Published on: 30 Mar '17Published in: Scientific Reports
The aim of the study was to evaluate the phenotypic CTCs heterogeneity (TTF-1(+) and/or CD56(+)) in SCLC patients and correlate it with the CellSearch. Peripheral blood was obtained from 108 consecutive patients. CTCs were detected by CellSearch and double-immunofluorescence using anti-CD45, anti-TTF-1 and anti-CD56 antibodies. Before chemotherapy TTF-1(+)/CD45(-), CD56(+)/CD45(-) and TTF-1(+)/CD56(+) CTCs were detected in 66(61.1%), 55(50.9%) and 46(42.6%) patients, respectively; 60.2% of patients were CellSearch(+). Among the 22 patients with 0 CTCs/7.5 ml on CellSearch, TTF-1(+)/CD45(-), CD56(+)/CD45(-) and TTF-1(+)/CD56(+) CTCs were detected in 8(36.4%), 6(27.3) and 6(27.3%) patients, respectively; no CK(+)/EpCAM(+) or TTF1(+)/EpCAM(+) CTCs were detected in these patients. One-chemotherapy cycle decreased both the number of positive patients (p < 0.001) and their CTC number (p < 0.001), irrespectively of their phenotype and the detection method. The incidence and number of the different CTC subpopulations on PD, was significantly increased at their baseline levels. Multivariate analysis revealed that the increased number of CTCs at baseline and on PD were significantly associated with decreased PFS (p = 0.048) and OS (p = 0.041), respectively. There is an important CTC heterogeneity in such patients according to the expression of TTF-1 and CD56 which could detect EpCAM(-) CTC subpopulations and, thus, undetectable by CellSearch. These CTC subpopulations are dynamically correlated with treatment efficacy and disease-progression.