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Article

Improved Prognostic Stratification Using Circulating Tumor Cell Clusters in Patients with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer

1
Department of Medical Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA
2
Department of Epidemiology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA
3
Department of Medicine, GW Cancer Center, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20037, USA
4
Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA
5
Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA
6
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this paper.
Cancers 2021, 13(2), 268; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13020268
Received: 12 November 2020 / Revised: 31 December 2020 / Accepted: 7 January 2021 / Published: 13 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Biopsy in Cancer)
Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) is the most aggressive and deadly form of prostate cancer. As a bone-predominant metastatic disease, liquid biopsy-based biomarkers have advantages in monitoring cancer dynamics. Previous studies have demonstrated the associations between circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and mCRPC outcomes, but little is known about the prognostic value of CTC-clusters. In this study, we investigated the associations of CTCs and CTC-clusters with mCRPC prognosis, individually and jointly, using longitudinal samples. We confirmed the associations of CTC counts with mCRPC outcomes in both baseline and longitudinal analyses. Our results also showed that the presence of CTC-clusters alone had prognostic value and that CTC-clusters may further improve CTC-based prognostic stratification in mCRPC. Our findings suggest the potential of combing CTC and CTC-clusters as non-invasive means to monitor progression and predict survival in mCRPC and build a premise for in-depth genomic and molecular analyses of CTCs and CTC-clusters.
Liquid biopsy-based biomarkers have advantages in monitoring the dynamics of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), a bone-predominant metastatic disease. Previous studies have demonstrated associations between circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and clinical outcomes of mCRPC patients, but little is known about the prognostic value of CTC-clusters. In 227 longitudinally collected blood samples from 64 mCRPC patients, CTCs and CTC-clusters were enumerated using the CellSearch platform. The associations of CTC and CTC-cluster counts with progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS), individually and jointly, were evaluated by Cox models. CTCs and CTC-clusters were detected in 24 (37.5%) and 8 (12.5%) of 64 baseline samples, and in 119 (52.4%) and 27 (11.9%) of 227 longitudinal samples, respectively. CTC counts were associated with both PFS and OS, but CTC-clusters were only independently associated with an increased risk of death. Among patients with unfavorable CTCs (≥5), the presence of CTC-clusters signified a worse survival (log-rank p = 0.0185). mCRPC patients with both unfavorable CTCs and CTC-clusters had the highest risk for death (adjusted hazard ratio 19.84, p = 0.0072), as compared to those with <5 CTCs. Analyses using longitudinal data yielded similar results. In conclusion, CTC-clusters provided additional prognostic information for further stratifying death risk among patients with unfavorable CTCs. View Full-Text
Keywords: circulating tumor cell; circulating tumor cell cluster; metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer; progression-free survival; overall survival circulating tumor cell; circulating tumor cell cluster; metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer; progression-free survival; overall survival
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wang, C.; Zhang, Z.; Chong, W.; Luo, R.; Myers, R.E.; Gu, J.; Lin, J.; Wei, Q.; Li, B.; Rebbeck, T.R.; Lu-Yao, G.; Kelly, W.K.; Yang, H. Improved Prognostic Stratification Using Circulating Tumor Cell Clusters in Patients with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer. Cancers 2021, 13, 268. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13020268

AMA Style

Wang C, Zhang Z, Chong W, Luo R, Myers RE, Gu J, Lin J, Wei Q, Li B, Rebbeck TR, Lu-Yao G, Kelly WK, Yang H. Improved Prognostic Stratification Using Circulating Tumor Cell Clusters in Patients with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer. Cancers. 2021; 13(2):268. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13020268

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wang, Chun, Zhenchao Zhang, Weelic Chong, Rui Luo, Ronald E. Myers, Jian Gu, Jianqing Lin, Qiang Wei, Bingshan Li, Timothy R. Rebbeck, Grace Lu-Yao, William K. Kelly, and Hushan Yang. 2021. "Improved Prognostic Stratification Using Circulating Tumor Cell Clusters in Patients with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer" Cancers 13, no. 2: 268. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13020268

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