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Andergassen, Ulrich; Zebisch, Michael; Kölbl, Alexandra C.; König, Alexander; Heublein, Sabine; Schröder, Lennard; Hutter, Stefan; Friese, Klaus; Jeschke, Udo (2016): Real-Time qPCR-Based Detection of Circulating Tumor Cells from Blood Samples of Adjuvant Breast Cancer Patients: A Preliminary Study. In: Breast Care, Vol. 11, No. 3: pp. 194-198


Background: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are cells that detach from a primary tumor, circulate through the blood stream and lymphatic vessels, and are considered to be the main reason for remote metastasis. Due to their origin, tumor cells have different gene expression levels than the surrounding blood cells. Therefore, they might be detectable in blood samples from breast cancer patients by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Materials and Methods: Blood samples of healthy donors and adjuvant breast cancer patients were withdrawn and the cell fraction containing white blood cells and tumor cells was enriched by density gradient centrifugation. RNA was isolated and reverse transcribed to cDNA, which was then used in TaqMan real-time PCR against cytokeratin (CK)8, CK18 and CK19. 18S and GAPDH were used as controls. Results: All 3 CKs were, on average, found to be significantly higher expressed in adjuvant breast cancer samples compared to negative controls, probably due to the presence of CTCs. Unfortunately, gene expression levels could not be correlated to tumor characteristics. Conclusions: RT-qPCR could make up a new approach for the detection of CTCs from blood samples of breast cancer patients, but a correlation of the PCR data to gold standard methods in CTC detection would help to further improve the informative value of the qPCR results. (C) 2016 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg