In vitro expansion of tumour cells derived from blood and tumour tissue is useful to redefine personalized treatment in non-small cell lung cancer patients

N. M. Malara, F. Givigliano, V. Trunzo, L. Macrina, C. Raso, N. Amodio, S. Aprigliano, A. M. Minniti, V. Russo, L. Roveda, M. L. Coluccio, M. Fini, P. Voci, U. Prati, Enzo Di Fabrizio, V. Mollace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The clinical development of locally and advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) suffers from a lack of biomarkers as a guide in the selection of optimal prognostic prediction. Circulating Tumour Cells (CTCs) are correlated to prognosis and show efficacy in cancer monitoring in patients. However, their enumeration alone might be inadequate; it might also be critical to understand the viability, the apoptotic state and the kinetics of these cells. Here, we report what we believe to be a new and selective approach to visually detect tumour specific CTCs. Firstly, using labelled human lung cancer cells, we detected a specific density interval in which NSCL-CTCs were concentrated. Secondly, to better characterize CTCs in respect to their heterogeneous composition and tumour reference, blood and tumour biopsy were performed on specimens taken from the same patient. The approach consisted in comparing phenotype profile of CTCs, and their progenitor Tumour Stem Cells, (TSCs). Moreover, NSCL-CTCs were cultivated in short-time human cultures to provide response to drug sensitivity. Our bimodal approach allowed to reveal two items. Firstly, that one part of a tumour, proximal to the bronchial structure, displays a predominance of CD133+. Secondly, specific NSCL-CTCs Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule (EpCAM)+CD29+ can be used as a negative prognostic factor as well the high expression of CTCs EpCAM+. These data were confirmed by drug-sensitivity tests, in vitro, and by the survival curves, in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-731
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of biological regulators and homeostatic agents
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Physiology
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cancer Research

Cite this