Improved Prognostic Stratification Using Circulating Tumor Cell Clusters in Patients with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer.

Liquid biopsy-based biomarkers have advantages in monitoring the dynamics of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), a bone-predominant metastatic disease. Previous studies have demonstrated associations between circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and clinical outcomes of mCRPC patients, but little is known about the prognostic value of CTC-clusters. In 227 longitudinally collected blood samples from 64 mCRPC patients, CTCs and CTC-clusters were enumerated using the CellSearch platform. The associations of CTC and CTC-cluster counts with progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS), individually and jointly, were evaluated by Cox models. CTCs and CTC-clusters were detected in 24 (37.5%) and 8 (12.5%) of 64 baseline samples, and in 119 (52.4%) and 27 (11.9%) of 227 longitudinal samples, respectively. CTC counts were associated with both PFS and OS, but CTC-clusters were only independently associated with an increased risk of death. Among patients with unfavorable CTCs (≥5), the presence of CTC-clusters signified a worse survival (log-rank p = 0.0185). mCRPC patients with both unfavorable CTCs and CTC-clusters had the highest risk for death (adjusted hazard ratio 19.84, p = 0.0072), as compared to those with <5 CTCs. Analyses using longitudinal data yielded similar results. In conclusion, CTC-clusters provided additional prognostic information for further stratifying death risk among patients with unfavorable CTCs.

Cancers. 2021 Jan 13*** epublish ***

Chun Wang, Zhenchao Zhang, Weelic Chong, Rui Luo, Ronald E Myers, Jian Gu, Jianqing Lin, Qiang Wei, Bingshan Li, Timothy R Rebbeck, Grace Lu-Yao, William K Kelly, Hushan Yang

Department of Medical Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA., Department of Epidemiology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA., Department of Medicine, GW Cancer Center, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20037, USA., Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA., Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA.