Pathway of the Month
- Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are rare cells that originate from a malignancy and circulate freely in the peripheral blood. The ability to capture and study CTCs is an emerging field with implications for early detection, diagnosis, determining prognosis and monitoring of cancer, as well as for understanding the fundamental biology of the process of metastasis. Here, we review the development and initial clinical studies with a novel microfluidic platform for isolating these cells, the CTC-chip, and discuss its potential uses in the study of lung cancer.
- Even though lung cancer patients harboring a mutation in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene exhibit an initial dramatic response to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs), acquired resistance is almost inevitable after a progression-free period of approximately 10 months. A secondary point mutation that substitutes methionine for threonine at amino acid position 790 (T790M) is a molecular mechanism that produces a drug-resistant variant of the targeted kinase. The T790M mutation is present in about half of the lung cancer patients with acquired resistance, and reported to act by increasing the affinity of the receptor to adenosine triphosphate, relative to its affinity to TKIs.