Article Abstract

Presence of circulating tumor cells is associated with metabolic-related variables in postoperative patients with early-stage breast cancer

Authors: Yumei Shi, Guochun Zhang, Yulei Wang, Chongyang Ren, Lingzhu Wen, Wenzhen Zhu, Xiaoqing Chen, Ning Liao


Objective: Although circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have been well-established as promising prognostic biomarkers in both early breast cancer and metastatic settings, little is known regarding the prognostic relevance of CTCs in the long-term postoperative monitoring of patients with non-metastatic breast cancer (non-MBC). In this study, we investigated the associations of CTCs with clinicopathological features and metabolic-related variables, such as obesity and hyperglycemia.
Methods: In this retrospective study, we recruited 264 patients with postoperative stage I−III breast cancer at Guangdong General Hospital from January 2009 to December 2015. The prevalence and number of CTCs were assessed using the CellSearch System at a median time of 19.0 months [interquartile range (IQR), 7.8−33.0] after surgery. The CTC assay results were correlated with the clinicopathological features and metabolic-related variables. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to further determine the independent predictors of CTCs.
Results: CTCs were detected in 10.6% of all patients. The positive rate of CTCs in patients with infiltrating ductal carcinoma was lower than that in patients with other pathological types (9.0% vs. 28.6%, P=0.020). More importantly, the presence of CTCs was correlated with blood glucose level (P=0.015) and high-density lipoprotein level (P=0.030). The multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that the pathological type [odds ratio (OR): 1.757, 95% CI: 1.021−3.023; P=0.042] and blood glucose level (OR: 1.218, 95% CI: 1.014−1.465; P=0.035) were independent predictors of the presence of CTCs.
Conclusions: This study revealed potential associations between CTCs and metabolic-related factors in Chinese patients with non-MBC and supports the hypothesis that metabolic dysfunction in breast cancer patients might influence the biological activity of metastatic breast cancer, leading to a higher prevalence of CTCs.

Keywords: Breast cancer; circulating tumor cells; hyperglycemia; metabolic-related variables