Circulating tumor cells in metastatic colorectal cancer: Do we need an alternative cutoff?

P. Gazzaniga*, C. Raimondi, A. Gradilone, G. Biondi Zoccai, C. Nicolazzo, O. Gandini, F. Longo, S. Tomao, G. Lo Russo, P. Seminara, B. Vincenzi, I. Chimenti, M. Cristofanilli, L. Frati, E. Cortesi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Purpose: To assess the prognostic and predictive value of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) irrespective of detection level. Materials and methods: We evaluated the prognostic and predictive significance of CTC count at baseline and under treatment in 119 mCRC subjects and compared the standard cutoff (≥3 CTCs/7.5 mL to ≥1 CTCs/7.5 mL). Results: An overall comparison was made between patients with 0, 1-2 and ≥3 CTC (median PFS 8, 4 and 5 months, respectively). Two poor prognostic groups were found, including patients with ≥1 CTCs before and during treatment and patients with 0 CTC at baseline who converted to ≥1 CTCs (p = 0.014). Conclusions: The presence of at least 1 CTC at baseline count is predictive for poor prognosis in mCRC patients. Patients with 1-2 CTC should be switched from the favorable prognostic group - conventionally defined by the presence of <3 CTC - to the unfavorable, deserving a more careful monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1411-1416
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • CellSearch
  • Circulating tumor cells
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Cutoff

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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