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September 27, 1965

Circulating Tumor Cells in Patients With Carcinoma: Method and Recent Studies

Author Affiliations

From the department of surgery (Drs. Romsdahl and McGrath) and pathology (Dr. McGrew), University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, and the Department of Pathology (Dr.Valaitis), Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Ill. Dr. Romsdahl is presently with the Department of Biology, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, Houston.

JAMA. 1965;193(13):1087-1090. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090130015003

High-molecular-weight dextran and millipore filtration have been successfully utilized for isolation of cancer cells and large hematopoietic elements from blood. Circulating tumor cells were detected in peripheral blood from nine (3.5%) of 255 patients. Regional blood samples were positive for tumor cells in two of 35 cases. Two of 28 patients having local blood examined were found to have tumor cells. A majority of the patients (11 of 13 cases) with detectable tumor cells in the blood had disseminated cancer. No tumor type predominated in yielding circulating cancer cells. The application of current criteria in the diagnosis of circulating tumor cells indicates that their presence is substantially less than previously reported. Immature hematopoietic elements, which require differentiation from malignant cells, are commonly found in the blood of patients with carcinoma.