WHAT ARE CIRCULATING TUMOR CELLS (CTC)?
Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) were first described in 1869 in patients with cancer by Asworth. They are epithelial tumor cells that are already present in the peripheral blood of patients with cancer at an early stage of the disease. It was assumed for a long time, that their presence in the circulating blood meant progress of neoplastic disease and that it could be directly related to emergence of tumor metastasis.
But their true biological significance could not be established by their small numbers and for not having at the time the techniques that allow their isolation and identification. Current technological developments have shown that CTCs have genomic characteristic alterations on malignant cells, and can rarely be found in peripheral blood of healthy people. It is estimated that only 1 of 105-106 CTCs present in peripheral blood can enter distant tissues from the primary tumor and only a small percentage of these cells will develop as metastatic disease.
The detection of these cells and their monitoring during follow-up and treatment in cancer is part of our program.
When patients are evaluated according to the number of circulating tumor cells, therapy becomes more targeted and personalized, plus they are our source of obtaining the antigens to be used for the activation and maturation of dendritic cells.
The identification and quantification of tumor cells in peripheral blood may be useful to constitute initial evidence of metastasis process and constitute a risk marker of tumor recurrence.
In cancer patients, the control of release and the number of circulating tumor cells should be considered as part of the conventional treatment of these patients, unfortunately this resource for the diagnosis and monitoring of patient outcome is wasted , in our program this study has several purposes, we use it as a marker for the initial assessment of patients, one part of treatment will be directed toward decreasing the population of circulating tumor cells, on the other hand they are indicators of tumor activity and the risk of metastasis, and finally their determination and isolation are a source of self-antigens which are then used to guide the dendritic cells specifically and efficiently.
There are some products of natural origin that have been evaluated in vitro and which have proven effective in reducing or destroying these circulating epithelial cells, we test some of these products in vivo in cells of each patient to determine which of these products are more effective in cellular destruction specific for each patient, some of these products are amygdalin, vitamin C, selenium, melatonin, among others.