Early Assessment of Colorectal Cancer by Quantifying Circulating Tumor Cells in Peripheral Blood: ECT2 in Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer.

Chih-Jung Chen, Wen-Wei Sung, Hung-Chang Chen, Yi-Jye Chern, Hui-Ting Hsu, Yueh-Min Lin, Shu-Hui Lin, Konan Peck, Kun-Tu Yeh,

International journal of molecular sciences, March 31, 2017

Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in peripheral blood is an indication of poor prognosis for patients with different cancer types. However, most of the available technologies for detecting CTCs show low sensitivity and specificity. Therefore, we attempted to find an alternative marker for CTCs of colorectal cancer. We have directly extracted RNA from CTCs contained in 1.5 mL peripheral blood from 90 colorectal cancer patients and 151 healthy donors, and screened these samples for candidate marker genes by nested real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). From genes selected from a public database of microarray analyses, we successfully identified epithelial cell transforming sequence 2 oncogene (ECT2) as a gene that exhibits high differential expression ratios (p < 0.01). ECT2 displays good sensitivity and specificity, with an area under the curve (AUC) value of 0.821. This marker gene also has a high detection rate in patients with serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) concentrations below the diagnostic threshold of 5 ng/mL. The expression of ECT2 can therefore serve as an alternative measurement that can compensate for the inadequacy of the current CEA test in the diagnosis and monitoring of colorectal cancer patients.

Pubmed Link: 28362321

DOI: 10.3390/ijms18040743