An interview with Prof. Hüseyin Baloğlu on CTC, an innovative method of cancer diagnostics
On April 22, 2016, central office of International Patient Support Center Bookimed hosted one of the best pathologist in the world - Prof. Hüseyin Baloğlu, MD, who held a unique lecture on modern methods of cancer diagnostics.
Professor Baloğlu gave a special presentation of innovative technology of CTC - method of tumor cells detection at an early stage of a disease by a blood test for Bookimed employees.
What innovative methods of cancer diagnostics do you apply?
Anadolu Medical Center - is the first and only center in Turkey, that implemented analysis of circulating tumor cells (CTC) in the blood.
This technology allows to define cancerous cells, their amount and even the type of cancer much earlier than all the existing diagnostic imaging systems such as PET/CT, MRI, CT or ultrasound.
Make a unique СТС analysis
Why CTC is better than standard diagnostic methods?
Standard methods of diagnostics and evaluation of treatment effectiveness have some significant disadvantages. Traditionally, the result of treatment is determined by the change of the tumor size on PET/CT and MRI scanning, but it may be months before its decreasing or increasing will be noticed. And the scanning cannot be done weekly, unlike blood test.
What is the essence of the method?
The method allows to make accurate and early diagnostic of cancer cells. Scientific data represent that tumor cells invade the blood stream, while the tumor is still very small. This method recognizes these cells in the blood by specific antibodies (monoclonal antibodies to epithelial antigens). The system is able to detect a single tumor cell among billions of blood cells. Any change in the number of tumor cells in the blood provides doctors with the unique information on the progress of the disease at its earliest stage.
What is necessary for CTC analysis?
In order to analyze circulating tumor cells, 10 ml of blood is necessary. Blood sampling technology requires sealing of the first 2 ml, to epithelial cells at the site of the puncture cannot affect the accuracy of the analysis. A tube with blood is studied in a special device. This new method identifies tumor cells by determining their amount and the type of cancer. All of these steps can be done in just one day.
Is it possible for foreign patients to make the analysis remotely?
Yes, The Clinical Laboratory of Anadolu Medical Center makes this possible. CTC must be held no later than 48 hours after sampling. Existing international express delivery services like DHL or FedEx, can bring the tube within 12 hours. This enables our lab to take on the analysis of the blood of patients from abroad.
What types of tumors can be diagnosed by CTC method?
CTC recognizes epithelial tumors, which account for 90% of all oncological diseases. It defines with 100% accuracy five sources of circulating tumor cells:
- lung cancer;
- mammary cancer;
- colorectal cancer;
- thyroid cancer;
- prostate cancer.
Is this method accurate?
HFS provides absolutely precise data for epithelial tumors greater than 0.5 mm, as far as the ultrasmall tumors do not give tumor cells into the blood. A big advantage of the method: it does not give false-positive diagnoses, i.e., the patient will be never told that he has cancer, if it is not in the body.
Is CTC applied only in the diagnostics?
Not only. This method is used in 3 directions of:
- early diagnostics, metastases identification
- forecasting and evaluation of the cancer treatment effectiveness
- the exact choice of therapy.
And as an alternative to a biopsy, for example, in remote places, such as the brain or lungs.
Does this mean that the method is used in the cancer treatment?
For sure. This innovative method allows to trace the treatment process of each patient. With the help of existing methods of cancer diagnostics, such as PET/CT, the result of treatment can be evaluated only after 3 months, by exposing the patient to radiation. CTC after 2 weeks of therapy gives an accurate information about the change in the number of tumor cells before and after treatment.
For example, we have a patient with breast cancer and she needs to undergo chemotherapy. After the first phase of treatment, CTC allows to determine is the treatment effective, and to adjust the course of therapy.
CTC method gives oncologists an opportunity to regularly and operately analyze whether the assigned therapy has effect and if yes, to continue the dynamics monitoring.
Does CTC allow to diagnose and treat tumors in different locations?
A large number of circulating cancer cells in blood is associated with increased risk of metastasizing, as they can spread cancer in other parts of the body. CTC analysis provides more accurate results when makes a prognosis than standard biomarkers do.
In addition, mutation analysis of tumor cells can serve as a guide in targeted therapy selecting. This gives more opportunities and create favorable conditions for the treatment of hard-to-get tumors or the tumors that require life-threatening surgical interventions.
Doctors-coordinators of Bookimed had the unique opportunity to obtain information on new techniques in cancer diagnostics at first hand. Professor Baloğlu is an experienced specialist in the field of molecular pathology, one of the few doctors in Europe who are actively using the advanced diagnostic methods, especially the new high-precision method of CTC.
Professor, where did you graduate from?
I graduated from Medical University in 1986 (GATA Medical Faculty). In 1998-1999 I worked in the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (New York, USA) as a visiting professor, where I focused on molecular cancer diagnostics.
In 2003 I became a professor. I taught for 20 years, except for the last 3, when I decided to concentrate upon research activity. I trained 5 professors, 10 associate professors and 20 assistant professors. A lot of them still keep in touch and cooperate with me.
What is your specialty?
I am engaged in molecular pathology, development of tumor diagnostics technologies, intraoperative diagnostics and tumor biology.
Prof. Hüseyin Baloğlu M.D.
Professor graduated from Faculty of Medicine of GATA in Turkey, studied and worked abroad: Heidelberg University (Germany), the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (USA).
His scientific works have been published on the basis of authoritative national and international medical websites, he is the author of several chapters in medical books. Professor is the owner of a patent on molecular diagnosis of papillary thyroid carcinoma.
Nowadays, Dr. Baloğlu is the Director of the Pathology Department at a major medical center in Istanbul - Anadolu, which is affiliated clinic of Johns Hopkins Medicine. On the basis of the Center Professor has been engaged in the diagnostics and treatment of cancer for many years.