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Results of my circulating tumor cells test

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2009

My CellSearch System circulating tumor cells (CTC) test came back with zero cancer cells. Does that mean I can be confident that I don’t have to worry about metastatic cancer?

Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

I believe I heard about this test recently from my oncologist - I have not had it, so I can't say what the test reveals. His initial opinion is that it could mean anything.

Based on what you are saying, it could indicate that there are not cancer cells "PRESENTLY." But this does not necessarily guarantee you that other radical cells are not circulating through your bloodstream trying to find a new home - or already have found one and just have not amassed enough of a tumor for this test or a CT or PET scan to detect.

Cells are microscopic and it takes time for them to accumulate to a mass for modern man and machines to be able to detect them. As I said, some may be there but just enough to show up yet - it does take some time for a tumor to build up. So no doctor can guarantee you that you are cancer free at this point.

The point of systemic chemo is to flood the body with chemicals so that any looses cells or accumulations can be killed off before they get bigger.

It's always an invidual's call to make on their treatment plan - and I know you want to avoid chemotherapy - who doesn't?

But I believe in hedging my bets and I'd rather be pro-active than reactive. It's harder to knock out once it gets established.


dianetavegia's picture
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

This concept confuses me.

The CellSearch® CTC Test results should be used in conjunction with all clinical information derived from diagnostic tests (e.g. imaging or laboratory tests), physical examination, and complete medical history, in accordance with appropriate management procedures.

The CellSearch™ System currently is cleared for monitoring metastatic breast and metastatic colorectal cancer patients.

Sonia32's picture
Posts: 1078
Joined: Mar 2009

l have stage 3 with 10/11 lymph nodes that were lnfected.l had further tests on the tumor that states lm not predisposed to further colon cancer??good news according to them.l agree with craig there is no point in taking chances chemo is a bleep but if you want those suckers gone ie any unseen cells you need it.not to scare you but l have read posts on other boards where people who were stage 1 & 2 having the all clear then it reappearing after a year etc going straight to stage 4.btw again craig was right on his previous commemt about getting treatment asap there is no time limit but the sooner lts done the better.l had to wait to have ivf before chemo encouraged by my oncologist when it failed he was asking me to try again my point it was march when l had surgery chemo in june.at the end of the day its your decision but l would listen to craig diane phil lisa donna etc they are all wise and know what they are talking about.hugs sonia

PGLGreg's picture
Posts: 741
Joined: Jul 2006

According to this article: http://www.healthnews.com/blogs/cary-presant/medical-updates/circulating-cancer-cells-does-this-test-detect-cancer-2732.html, the test is only useful now to monitor the effectiveness of treatment, reflected in a falling number of cancer cells detected. So I guess the answer to your question is no, your result does not mean you can be confident.

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