Treatment-naïve patients with EGFR-mutated NSCLC who received epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EGFR-TKI) therapy were recruited prospectively. The cell surface vimentin antibody was used for CTC detection and CD133 antibody for CCSC detection. CCSC and CTC levels were measured as cell count per 4 mL of blood, before treatment, after 2 and 12 weeks of treatment, and at disease progression. Data on clinical characteristics and outcomes were also collected.
At diagnosis (n = 29), the median CCSC and CTC levels were 0 (interquartile range, 0-2) and 3 (2-9), respectively. After 12 weeks, the CCSC and CTC levels were lower than those at diagnosis (CCSC: 0 (0-0), p = 0.14; CTC: 1 (0-4), p = 0.048). At disease progression, the median CCSC and CTC levels were 0 (0-1) and 1 (0-2), respectively. Patients with higher CCSC and CTC levels at diagnosis had a numerically shorter progression-free survival.
In patients with EGFR-mutated NSCLC, CCSC and CTC levels became lower after 12 weeks of EGFR-TKI therapy and remained low at disease progression. High pre-treatment CCSC and CTC levels may be associated with a trend towards poor treatment outcomes.
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