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Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) that were isolated from patients’ blood, expanded in the laboratory, and screened for alterations in 1000 cancer-associated genes revealed both preexisting and newly acquired mutations, researchers report (Yu M et al. Science. 2014;345:216-220).
The team, led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, used a technology called the CTC-iChip, which depletes normal blood cells, leaving behind CTCs. The scientists established long-lived cell lines from CTCs isolated from the blood of 6 patients with metastatic, estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer. Subsequent samples from 3 of these patients were used to create additional cell lines to track how the tumors changed during treatment.
Hampton T. Circulating Tumor Cells May Reveal Changes in Cancer Drug Susceptibility. JAMA. 2014;312(9):882. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.11281