Hallmark circulating tumor-associated cell clusters signify 230 times higher one-year cancer risk

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Abstract

We have previously shown that circulating ensembles of tumor-associated cells (C-ETACs) are a systemic hallmark of cancer based on analysis of blood samples from 16,134 individuals including 10,625 asymptomatic individuals and 5,509 diagnosed cases of cancer. C-ETACs were ubiquitously (90%) detected across all cancer types and were rare (3.6%) among the asymptomatic population. Consequently, we hypothesized that asymptomatic individuals with detectable C-ETACs would have a definitively elevated risk of developing cancer as compared with individuals without C-ETACs. In the present manuscript we present 1-year follow-up data of the asymptomatic cohort which shows that C-ETAC positive individuals have a 230-fold (P < 0.00001) higher 1-year cancer risk as compared with individuals where C-ETACs were undetectable. Simultaneously, we also expanded the study to include 4,419 symptomatic individuals, suspected of cancer, prior to undergoing an invasive biopsy for diagnosis. C-ETACs were detected in 4,101 (92.8%) of these 4,419 cases where cancer was eventually confirmed. We conclude that detection of C-ETACs can identify patients at risk of cancer and can be reliably used to stratify asymptomatic individuals with an elevated 1-year risk of cancer.

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Ranade, A., Bhatt, A., Page, R., Limaye, S., Crook, T., Akolkar, D., & Patil, D. (2021). Hallmark circulating tumor-associated cell clusters signify 230 times higher one-year cancer risk. Cancer Prevention Research, 14(1), 11–16. https://doi.org/10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-20-0322

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