Recent advances in the field of circulating tumor cells (CTC) have shown promise in this liquid biopsy-based prognosis of patient outcome. However, not all of the circulating cells are tumor cells, as evidenced by a lack of tumor-specific markers. The current FDA standard for capturing CTCs (CellSearch) relies on an epithelial marker and cells captured via CellSearch cannot be considered to have undergone EMT. Therefore, it is difficult to ascertain the presence and relevance of any mesenchymal or EMT-like CTCs. To address this gap in technology, we recently discovered the utility of cellsurface vimentin (CSV) as a marker for detecting mesenchymal CTCs from sarcoma, breast, and colon cancer. Here we studied peripheral blood samples of 48 prostate cancer (PCA) patients including hormone sensitive and castration resistant sub-groups. Blood samples were analyzed for three different properties including our own CSVbased CTC enumeration (using 84-1 mAb against CSV), CellSearch-based epithelial CTC counts, and serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) quantification. Our data demonstrated that in comparison with CellSearch, the CSV-based method had greater sensitivity and specificity. Further, we observed significantly greater numbers of CTCs in castration resistant patients as measured by our CSV method but not CellSearch. Our data suggests CSV-guided CTC enumeration may hold prognostic value and should be further validated as a possible measurement of PCA progression towards the deadly, androgen-independent form.
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