Analysis of Single Circulating Tumor Cells in Renal Cell Carcinoma Reveals Phenotypic Heterogeneity and Genomic Alterations Related to Progression.
Published on Feb 21, 2020in International Journal of Molecular Sciences4.556
· DOI :10.3390/IJMS21041475
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are promising biomarkers for prognosis, therapeutic response prediction, and treatment monitoring in cancer patients. Despite its epithelial origin, renal cell carcinoma (RCC) shows low expression of epithelial markers hindering CTC-enrichment approaches exploiting epithelial cell surface proteins. In 21 blood samples serially collected from 10 patients with metastatic RCC entering the TARIBO trial, we overcame this limitation using the marker-independent Parsortix™ approach for CTC-enrichment coupled with positive and negative selection with the DEPArray™ with single cell recovery and analysis for copy number alterations (CNA) by next generation sequencing NGS. Two CTC subpopulations were identified: epithelial CTC (eCTC) and non-conventional CTC (ncCTC) lacking epithelial and leukocyte markers. With a threshold ≥1CTC/10 mL of blood, the positivity rates were 28% for eCTC, 62% for ncCTCs, and 71% considering both CTC types. In two patients with detectable eCTCs at baseline, progression free survival was less than 5 months. In an index case, hierarchical structure by translational oncology (TRONCO) identified three clones among 14 CTCs collected at progression and at baseline, each containing cells with a 9p21.3loss, a well-known metastasis driving subclonal alteration. CTCs detection in RCC can be increased by marker-independent approaches, and CTC molecular characterization can allow detection of subclonal events possibly related to tumor progression.