Circulating cells in advanced cancer (CICATRIx)

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Sample collection study to explore Circulating tumour cells, cell free DNA And leucocytes with imagesTReam analysIs in patients with various cancers (CICATRIx)



  • Contact name

    Marcia Hall

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    East and North Herts NHS Trust

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    10 years, 0 months, 2 days

  • Research summary

    Patients are always inquiring why we are unable to tell them about their cancer from a simple blood test. There is increasing evidence that cancer cells travel in the circulatory system but to date efforts to securely identify these have predominantly relied on certain surface markers that are not regularly present on the circulating tumour cells (CTCs) (but are present when the cells settle to grow). Recent advances in technology have resulted in equipment (ImageStream analysis) which is now able to sort cells into different size groups AND image them with high definition. Treatment of samples with different antibodies will help to confirm identification of the origin of these CTCs. Circulating free DNA in the blood stream may also help identify changes to patients cancer.
    For many cancer patients, their (lack of) immune response to their cancer is being recognized as an early and important strategy to enhance cancer cell viability. In addition to the examination of CTCs, this technology is likely to be equally informative to explore changes on circulating T cells and other lymphocytes that support the immune response to foreign antigens. We hope that by identifying changes in the lymphocytes that correlate with treatment success or failure the T cells (or CTCs) might
    become a 'biomarker' to tell us if the cancer is being controlled or escaping control. This study is requesting blood samples from patients with advanced cancer in order to determine how best to use the new technology to give us a better understanding about their cancer from a simple blood test. Comparison is planned with tissue taken at diagnosis and where available, other cancer-induced bodily fluid accumulations such as ascites or pleural effusions.

  • REC name

    West Midlands - South Birmingham Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    4 Jul 2016

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion