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Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) Testing to Monitor Cancer Treatment

Published on November 4th, 2015 by Dr. Jennifer Nardella

The Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) test was developed in the mid-2000’s to monitor cancer in patients by helping to predict a more realistic outcome of the disease and allow for more effective treatment options.  CTC tests for tumor cells in the body’s peripheral circulation via a simple blood test, and the information the test provides can be useful in predicting the probability of metastasis from the original tumor site and mortality rates.

CTCs are cells that have detached from the primary tumor and circulate in the blood stream.  They may travel to other areas and create new tumors in different tissues or organs.

A combination of antibodies, microscopic iron particles and powerful magnets allow the CTCs to be drawn out of a blood sample and they are then identified with fluorescent bio-molecules. As low as one CTC in 7.5 mL of whole blood can be detected using this advanced technology.

CTC testing can be helpful during or after chemotherapy to determine if a tumor is responding to a particular chemotherapeutic agent or not.  It can also be effective with patients who are using integrative cancer therapies to help determine the efficacy of these naturopathic treatments.

Naturopathic doctors are looking to see if the number of CTCs are decreasing, which indicates the treatment is working.  Conversely, increasing CTCs present during chemo treatment can indicate a poor prognosis.

As part of our approach to care, knowing the value of CTCs can help us guide a patient’s treatment plan towards a more effective, individualized plan.

Contact our team at Nardella for more information regarding natural cancer treatment in Calgary.

(403) 282-4488