Fluid Biopsy in Solid Tumors, how HD-CTCs can provide real-time insights into cancer

P. Kuhn
Scripps Physics Oncology Center; The Scripps Research Institute, US


The fluid phase of solid tumors is an emerging research area that holds the promise of both deep basic science cancer discoveries and direct applications in personalized cancer care. Utilizing the HD-CTC assay we are undertaking a series of clinical studies investigating the metastatic pathways in cancer patients. The fluid phase of solid tumors is a critical third microenvironment in the development and progression of carcinomas. Cells originating from primary or secondary sites travel through the blood circulatory system to either get cleared out or initiate new tumor growth. Translational research efforts are attempting to identify the various subtypes of circulating tumor cells (CTCs), their origins, their destinations and their impact on the disease. Understanding and characterizing CTCs is a first step towards utilizing them as both biopsy material and directly as a biomarker. It requires approaches of subtyping CTCs and characterizing them at the single cell level. While new technologies are being developed constantly, even early approaches show uses of certain CTCs as a biomarker. New correlations can be established between CTCs and other fluid phase materials. The immediate use is the use of the HD-CTC assay as a fluid biopsy for therapeutic stratification.