Year : 2018  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 230-237

Utility of cell-free nucleic acid and circulating tumor cell analyses in prostate cancer

1 Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA
2 Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Genitourinary Oncology Section, Boston, MA 02215, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Guru Sonpavde
Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Genitourinary Oncology Section, Boston, MA 02215, USA

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aja.aja_1_18

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Prostate cancer is characterized by bone metastases and difficulty of objectively measuring disease burden. In this context, cell-free circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and circulating tumor cell (CTC) quantitation and genomic profiling afford the ability to noninvasively and serially monitor the tumor. Recent data suggest that ctDNA and CTC quantitation are prognostic for survival. Indeed, CTC enumeration using the CellSearch® platform is validated as a prognostic factor and warrants consideration as a stratification factor in randomized trials. Changes in quantities of CTCs using CellSearch also are prognostic and may be employed to detect a signal of activity of new agents. Molecular profiling of both CTCs and ctDNA for androgen receptor (AR) variants has been associated with outcomes in the setting of novel androgen inhibitors. Serial profiling to detect the evolution of new alterations may inform drug development and help develop precision medicine. The costs of these assays and the small quantities in which they are detectable in blood are a limitation, and novel platforms are required to address this challenge. The presence of multiple platforms to assay CTCs and ctDNA also warrants the consideration of a mechanism to allow comparison of data across platforms. Further validation and the continued development and standardization of these promising modalities will facilitate their adoption in the clinic.

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