Comparison of Two Types of Liquid Biopsies in Patients With Hepatocellular Carcinoma Awaiting Orthotopic Liver Transplantation.

Sánchez-Lorencio et al.

Transpl Proc. 2015 Nov;47(9):2639–42.



Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) is considered one of the few curative treatments available for early stages of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). It has been shown that more than 10% of transplanted individuals suffer relapse during the first year after surgery and most of them die because of the tumor. The circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are the main source of recurrences as they disseminate from a primary or metastatic tumor lesion through peripheral blood. We aimed to determine the concentration of CTCs in peripheral blood in these patients by 2 different approaches: the CellSearch and the IsoFlux systems to assess their applicability to this disease monitoring.


A comparative study was conducted in 21 patients with HCC eligible for liver transplantation according to the Milan criteria, whose peripheral blood was processed by the CellSearch and the IsoFlux systems.


CTCs were isolated in 1 of the 21 patients (4.7%) by the CellSearch system and in 19 of the 21 patients (90.5%) by the IsoFlux method. The comparison of both methods using Bland-Altman plot shows that there is not consistency in the determination of CTCs in our patients, finding a proportional bias between them.


The results obtained by both CTCs isolation systems are not interchangeable nor transferable. The CellSearch system does not seem to be the ideal approach for studying CTCs in patients with HCC. The IsoFlux system displays greater sensitivity in the identification of CTCs and might become an important tool in patient management.