Circulating tumor cells predict survival benefit from chemotherapy in patients with lung cancer

Zhuo-Xuan Wu, Zhen Liu, Han-Ling Jiang, Hong-Ming Pan and Wei-Dong Han _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:67586-67596. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.11707

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Zhuo-Xuan Wu1,*, Zhen Liu1,*, Han-Ling Jiang2, Hong-Ming Pan1 and Wei-Dong Han1

1 Department of Medical Oncology, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

2 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

* These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Wei-Dong Han, email:

Keywords: circulating tumor cells, lung cancer, chemotherapy, tumor response, prognosis

Received: May 20, 2016 Accepted: August 25, 2016 Published: August 30, 2016


Background: This meta-analysis was to explore the clinical significance of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in predicting the tumor response to chemotherapy and prognosis of patients with lung cancer.

Methods: We searched PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Database, Web of Science and reference lists of relevant articles. Our meta-analysis was performed by Stata software, version 12.0, with a random effects model. Risk ratio (RR), hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were used as effect measures.

Results: 8 studies, including 453 patients, were eligible for analyses. We showed that the disease control rate (DCR) in CTCs-negative patients was significantly higher than CTCs-positive patients at baseline (RR = 2.56, 95%CI [1.36, 4.82], p < 0.05) and during chemotherapy (RR = 9.08, CI [3.44, 23.98], p < 0.001). Patients who converted form CTC-negative to positive or persistently positive during chemotherapy had a worse disease progression than those with CTC-positive to negative or persistently negative (RR = 8.52, CI [1.66, 43.83], p < 0.05). Detection of CTCs at baseline and during chemotherapy also indicated poor overall survival (OS) (baseline: HR = 3.43, CI [2.21, 5.33], p<0.001; during chemotherapy: HR = 3.16, CI [2.23, 4.48], p < 0.001) and progression-free survival (PFS) (baseline: HR = 3.16, 95%CI [2.23, 4.48], p < 0.001; during chemotherapy: HR = 3.78, CI [2.33, 6.13], p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Detection of CTCs in peripheral blood indicates poor tumor response to chemotherapy and poor prognosis in patients with lung cancer.

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