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Bauer, Emanuel C. A.; Schochter, Fabienne; Widschwendter, Peter; DeGregorio, Amelie; Andergassen, Ulrich; Friedl, Thomas W. P.; Fasching, Peter A.; Fehm, Tanja; Schneeweiss, Andreas; Beckmann, Matthias W.; Pantel, Klaus; Janni, Wolfgang; Rack, Brigitte; Scholz, Christoph (2018): Prevalence of circulating tumor cells in early breast cancer patients 2 and 5years after adjuvant treatment. In: Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, Vol. 171, No. 3: pp. 571-580
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PurposeSeveral studies have provided evidence on the prognostic relevance of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) detected before and after chemotherapy regarding overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in early breast cancer (EBC). We provide data on the prevalence of CTCs 2 and 5years after primary diagnosis in a cohort of patients with EBC.Methods: The SUCCESS study is a multicenter, prospective, randomized trial comparing PFS in primary breast cancer patients undergoing one of two adjuvant chemotherapy regimens followed by 2 versus 5years of treatment with zoledronate. CTCs from patients without signs of breast cancer recurrence were analyzed in peripheral blood using the FDA cleared CellSearch (R) System (Veridex, USA) 2 and 5years after primary diagnosis.Results: CTCs were detected at 2 and 5years after primary diagnosis in 96 (16.7%) and 47 (8.2%) of the 574 patients, respectively. There were no associations between CTC status and patient and tumor characteristics or treatment regimens. In 442 (77.0%) patients, no CTCs were detected at either of the two time points, and in 11 patients (1.9%), CTCs were found at both 2 and 5years after primary diagnosis. In 85 (14.8%) patients, CTCs were present 2years after primary diagnosis but not after 5years, while 36 (6.3%) patients had CTCs in their blood only at the 5-year follow-up.Conclusion: sIn patients with EBC, CTCs can be detected even 5years after primary diagnosis without clinical signs of disease recurrence.