Type of publication:
European Journal of Surgical Oncology; May 2021; vol. 47 (no. 5)
Background: Prognostic value of circulating tumour cells (CTC) in breast cancer is currently under investigation. This systematic review with Meta-analysis measures the evidence on prognostic relevance of CTC in early breast cancer presented in recent published studies. Method(s): A detailed search was made for published primary studies, those assessed prognostic value of CTC in early breast cancer. Review and quality assessment of 22 included studies were performed and data on CTC status and disease recurrence and death were extracted. Primary outcomes analysed were hazard ratios for disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) between the patient groups with positive and negative detection of CTC. Meta-analysis calculated the pooled hazard ratio (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) as the overall effect measure on DFS and OS using the fixed and random effects models. Result(s): 22 studies enrolling total of 5724 patients were eligible for the systematic review and meta-analysis. Pooled HR for DFS: 2.81 (CI: 2.20-3, 61) and for OS: 2.74 (CI: 2.20-3.41) was found with CTC positive status. Conclusion(s): This systematic review and meta-analysis finds that positive detection of CTC in early breast cancer is a poor prognostic index for disease recurrence and mortality by nearly 3 times.