Monitoring/Early Detection - Circulating Tumor Cells 🧪

I've been researching a couple of different testing methods for monitoring the presence (or absence) of cancer in the body via the blood. This is important because we need to know if our protocols including treatments, supplements and diet are working, right? Knowing early on how many cancer cells we have floating in our blood compared to our baseline can help us stop a treatment early or to keep going forward with confidence and peace. It can also help us avoid unnecessary radiation from tests like PET and CT scans.

We have imaging testing available like PET/CT scans and MRIs, but those don't reveal cancer in the body until there are about 100,000,000 cells in a tumor when it's about 0.5-1.0cm; and that doesn't tell you how many cancer cells there are total in your body. If you measure the circulating tumor cells in the blood, however, you may actually be able to know roughly how many cancer cells are in your body altogether; and you get that number by multiplying the test result by 150 (each blood sample is 7.5mL for breast cancer tests or 15-20mL for other types of cancer and the average person has about 1.2-1.5L of blood in his/her body).

The two liquid biopsy tests I focused on are RGCC's OncoTrace and Menarini Silicon Biosystems' CellSearch.

What's the scientific proof that CellSearch is accurate? There was a study, Circulating tumor cells at each follow-up time point during therapy of metastatic breast cancer patients predict progression-free and overall survival, which predicted the outcome of women with late stage breast cancer according to the number of CTCs at any point in their treatment.

There are also a couple of case studies showcased on their website. Case Study 1 was in a woman with metastatic breast cancer who had 3 cancer recurrences and whose test results resulted in an early PET/CT scan, revealing progression of disease and enabling earlier initiation of treatment than had they only had the PET/CT scan to base her progress. Case Study 2 included a 39 year-old woman who was able to use CTC test results to guide her treatment and enable her to switch from a very toxic treatment to a less toxic treatment and complementary therapies.

CellSearch can boast that it is the first and only FDA-approved liquid biopsy test. Unfortunately, however, it is hard to come across testimonials of individuals who have used the test successfully and share publicly about it. I found two people who shared in a Facebook group about their negative experiences with it, as it did not pick up any cancer cells when they tested pretty high on the RGCC OncoTrace test. It appears that CellSearch may be best suited for cancer in late stages. The cost is about $550.

CellSearch wasn't alone in not being able to pick up circulating tumor cells however, as Biocept and other common test companies covered by insurance like LabCorp and Quest were unsuccessful in detecting circulating tumor cells according to some reports.

Thankfully, however, RGCC's OncoTrace test seems to be a winner! It appears to be very consistent in detecting growth or regression in cancer. It can If you'd like to order a test from RGCC you'll have to find a practitioner who can order it for you, which you can inquire about at this page, and the cost per test is about $1000: