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Type: Journal article
Title: Long term survival following the detection of circulating tumour cells in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
Author: Winter, S.
Stephenson, S.
Subramaniam, S.
Paleri, V.
Ha, K.
Marnane, C.
Krishnan, S.
Rees, G.
Citation: BMC Cancer, 2009; 9(1):424-438
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 1471-2407
Statement of
Stuart C Winter, Sally-Anne Stephenson, Selva K Subramaniam, Vinidh Paleri, Kien Ha, Conor Marnane, Conor Marnane and Guy Rees
Abstract: Background: Techniques for detecting circulating tumor cells in the peripheral blood of patients with head and neck cancers may identify individuals likely to benefit from early systemic treatment. Methods: Reconstruction experiments were used to optimise immunomagnetic enrichment and RT-PCR detection of circulating tumor cells using four markers (ELF3, CK19, EGFR and EphB4). This method was then tested in a pilot study using samples from 16 patients with advanced head and neck carcinomas. Results: Seven patients were positive for circulating tumour cells both prior to and after surgery, 4 patients were positive prior to but not after surgery, 3 patients were positive after but not prior to surgery and 2 patients were negative. Two patients tested positive for circulating cells but there was no other evidence of tumor spread. Given this patient cohort had mostly advanced disease, as expected the detection of circulating tumour cells was not associated with significant differences in overall or disease free survival. Conclusion: For the first time, we show that almost all patients with advanced head and neck cancers have circulating cells at the time of surgery. The clinical application of techniques for detection of spreading disease, such as the immunomagnetic enrichment RT-PCR analysis used in this study, should be explored further.
Keywords: Humans
Carcinoma, Squamous Cell
Head and Neck Neoplasms
Neoplasm Staging
Combined Modality Therapy
Immunomagnetic Separation
Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
Neoplastic Cells, Circulating
Kaplan-Meier Estimate
Biomarkers, Tumor
Description: The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:
Rights: © 2009 Winter et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2407-9-424
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