Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Circulating Tumor Cells can Reveal Genetic Signature of Dangerous Lung Cancers

Published: Friday, July 04, 2008
Last Updated: Friday, July 04, 2008
Bookmark and Share
MGH-developed device promises improvements in targeted therapy, treatment monitoring.

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators have shown that an MGH-developed, microchip-based device that detects and analyzes tumor cells in the bloodstream can be used to determine the genetic signature of lung tumors, allowing identification of those appropriate for targeted treatment and monitoring genetic changes that occur during therapy.

A pilot study of the device called the CTC-chip will appear in the July 24 New England Journal of Medicine and is receiving early online release.

"The CTC-chip opens up a whole new field of studying tumors in real time,” says Daniel Haber, MD, director of the MGH Cancer Center and the study’s senior author.

“When the device is ready for larger clinical trials, it should give us new options for measuring treatment response, defining prognostic and predictive measures, and studying the biology of blood-borne metastasis, which is the primary method by which cancer spreads and becomes lethal.”

CTCs or circulating tumor cells are living solid-tumor cells found at extremely low levels in the bloodstream. Until the development of the CTC-chip by researchers from the MGH Cancer Center and BioMEMS (BioMicroElectroMechanical Systems) Resource Center, it was not possible to get information from CTCs that would be useful for clinical decision-making.

The current study was designed to find whether the device could go beyond detecting CTCs to helping analyze the genetic mutations that can make a tumor sensitive to treatment with targeted therapy drugs.

The CTC-chip was used to analyze blood samples from 27 patients – 23 who had EGFR mutations and 4 who did not – and CTCs were identified in samples from all patients. Genetic analysis of CTCs from mutation-positive tumors detected those mutations 92 percent of the time.

In addition to the primary mutation that leads to initial tumor development and TKI sensitivity, the CTC-chip also detected a secondary mutation associated with treatment resistance in some participants, including those whose tumors originally responded to treatment but later resumed growing.

“If tumor genotypes don’t remain static during therapy, it’s essential to know exactly what you’re treating at the time you are treating it,” says Haber.

“Biopsy samples taken at the time of diagnosis can never tell us about changes emerging during therapy or genotypic differences that may occur in different sites of the original tumor, but the CTC-chip offers the promise of noninvasive continuous monitoring.” Haber is the Kurt J. Isselbacher/Peter D. Schwartz Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

First Gene that Causes Mitral Valve Prolapse Identified
An international research collaboration led by MGH investigators has identified the first gene in which mutations cause the common form of mitral valve prolapse, a heart valve disorder that affects almost 2.5 percent of the population.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Evo-Engineered CRISPR-Cas9s Hit More Gene-Editing Targets
Scientists have engineered a more effective CRISPR- Cas9 system paving the way for more advanced applications.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Genetic Signals Reflect the Evolutionary Impact of Cholera
Study identifies regions of genome associated with cholera susceptibility in Bangladesh.
Monday, July 08, 2013
Powerful Gene-Editing Tool Appears to Cause Off-Target Mutations in Human Cells
Results indicate need to improve precision of CRISPR-Cas RNA-guided nucleases.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Mass. General, Duke Study Identifies Two Genes that Combine to Cause Rare Syndrome
Mutations in genes that regulate cellular metabolism found in families with ataxia, dementia and reproductive failure.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Gene Variation may Elevate Risk of Liver Tumor in Patients with Cirrhosis
A single alteration in the epidermal growth factor (EFG) gene may greatly increase the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma, researchers say.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Scientific News
New Class of RNA Tumor Suppressors Identified
Two short, “housekeeping” RNA molecules block cancer growth by binding to an important cancer-associated protein called KRAS. More than a quarter of all human cancers are missing these RNAs.
Biologists Induce Flatworms to Grow Heads and Brains of Other Species
Findings shed light on role of a new kind of epigenetic signaling in evolution, could yield clues for understanding birth defects and regeneration.
Turning up the Tap on Microbes Leads to Better Protein Patenting
Mining millions of proteins could become faster and easier with a new technique that may also transform the enzyme-catalyst industry, according to University of California, Davis, researchers.
Mathematical Model Forecasts the Path of Breast Cancer
Chances of survival depend on which organs breast cancer tumors colonize first.
Exploring the Causes of Cancer
Queen's research to understand the regulation of a cell surface protein involved in cancer.
Ancient Viral Molecules Essential for Human Development
Genetic material from ancient viral infections is critical to human development, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Tardigrade's Are DNA Master Thieves
Tardigrades, nearly microscopic animals that can survive the harshest of environments, including outer space, hold the record for the animal that has the most foreign DNA.
The Secret Behind the Power of Bacterial Sex
Migration between different communities of bacteria is the key to the type of gene transfer that can lead to the spread of traits such as antibiotic resistance, according to researchers at Oxford University.
Farming’s in Their DNA
Ancient genomes reveal natural selection in action.
GMO Food Animals Should be Judged by Product, Not Process
In a world with a burgeoning demand for meat, milk and eggs, regulatory policies around the use of biotechnologies in agriculture need to be based on the safety and attributes of those foods rather than on the methods used to produce them, says a UC Davis animal scientist.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos