Pancreatic carcinoma is one of the leading causes of cancer-related mortality. At the time of diagnosis, 30% of patients present with a locally advanced pancreatic carcinoma (LAPC). As circulating tumor cells (CTCs) count may be a surrogate of the cancer metastatic abilities, CTC detection rates and prognostic value were studied in a prospective cohort of LAPC patients.Patients and methods
An LAP07 international multicenter randomized study assesses in patients whose LAPC is controlled after 4 months of chemotherapy whether chemoradiotherapy could increase survival versus continuation of chemotherapy. A subgroup of patients included in the LAP07 trial was screened for CTCs (CellSearch®) before the start of the chemotherapy and after 2 months of treatment. Patient characteristics and survival were obtained prospectively and were correlated with CTC detection.Results
Seventy-nine patients were included. One or more CTCs/7.5 ml were detected in 5% of patients before treatment and in 9% of patients after 2 months of treatment (overall detection rate: 11% of patients). CTC positivity was associated with poor tumor differentiation (P = 0.04), and with shorter overall survival (OS) in multivariable analysis (RR = 2.5, P = 0.01), together with anemia.Conclusions
The evaluation of micrometastatic disease using CTC detection appears as a promising prognostic tool in LAPC patients.