RGCC (the Greek) Test for Circulating Tumor Cells
Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs)
Circulating tumor cells are cancer cells which have broken away from the primary tumor and entered the blood stream where they circulate and have the potential to generate metastatic disease. These cells can be isolated and identified and there is growing interest in their detection for the following purposes:
- detect early signs of a developing cancer,
- help to monitor existing cancers,
- produce an individual profile of which cancer drugs and which natural substances can be used to achieve the best treatment outcomes.
Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs)
Circulating cancer stem cells represent a distinct subpopulation of CTCs that possess the tendency to cause metastatic disease. As compared to non-aggressive CTCs, circulating CSCs may be capable of evading primary tumor treatment, while also hiding from the immune system, surviving in the circulating blood and subsequently forming metastases in distant organs. Thus, circulating CSCs are characterized by their invasive characteristics and are potential therapeutic targets for preventing disease progression.
Research Genetics Cancer Center (RGCC) Group was established in 2004 by Dr. Ioannis Papasotiriou. The company is a pioneering, innovative organization working in the fields of medical genetics and, in particular, cancer genetics, chemosensitivity and chemo-resistance testing and in Research and Development within the pharmaceutical industry via RGCC Pharma Ltd. The company headquarters are in Switzerland, and the brand new, state-of-the art laboratories in Northern Greece are equipped with the most up-to-date technological, advanced and innovative equipment.
RGCC isolates the CTCs using a technology called flow cytometry in order to obtain a sample of 97-99% pure cells that are 99% viable for further testing, such as molecular analysis, immunophenotyping, gene expression assays and sensitivities to various agents. There are numerous new labs arriving on the CTC testing scene using various technologies, mostly providing only CTC counts and basic gene expression data.
RGCC Group offers general assays for CTCs and for specific cancers including breast, colorectal, prostate, lung, melanoma and sarcomas. The test if performed from a simple blood sample and results are completed in 7-10 days.
RGCC Testing and Treatment
Dr Rollins has been using the RGCC tests since 2013 and has trained with RGCC. We typically recommend initial testing with Oncotrace to get genetic markers, CTC count, and determine that only one cancer type is present. This is almost always followed with one of the Onconomics panels to get sensitivities. We recommend repeating the Oncotrace or cancer specific Oncotrail tests every 3-4 months to follow progress and repeat Onconomics panel annually.
The extracts used in RGCC testing are brand specific and where possible we recommend using the exact brands used in sensitivity testing. Due to multi-drug/extract resistance and competitive inhibition at receptor sites, we recommend a rotation schedule for supplements. E.g. We pick from the highest ranking extracts and rotate a few single supplements during different days of the week, then switch supplements on a monthly basis. Detailed treatment plans are provided for our patients.
RGCC Test Menu
Oncocount. Screening test for presence of cancer or follow up for CTC count. Provides information on the presence and the concentration of CTCs. It enumerates only the progenitor cells that are relevant to potent relapse and recurrence of the disease. (about $600)
Oncotrace. Initial test if certain, or suspicious, of cancer. Reports the number of CTC’s, any positive CSC’s, and the CD markers and immunophenotype of these cells. Oncotrace (or Oncotrail) can be ordered every 3-4 months to follow progress. It allows you to check the cell count to confirm it’s going down but also allows you to see if specific markers are turning on or off.
This test should be ordered first and if positive one can then order the Onconomics panels. RGCC must be notified by e-mail to continue with the Onconomics panel within 7 days after receiving results (saves about $150). If one waits longer a new blood sample will be needed. (about $850)
Oncotrail. Use as a follow up when you have a positive diagnosis for any of the following types of cancers (breast, prostate, colon, GI, lung, melanoma, carcinoma). Provides information about the presence of CTCs and their concentration and immunophenotype for specific types of malignancies. This test is a tailor-made test for specific type of malignancies and includes only markers relevant for a specific type of malignancy which make the test a good tool for follow up control. (about $825)
Onconomics. This includes the chemosensitivity/chemoresistance assessment for cytotoxic drugs, monoclonal antibodies, and small molecules that inhibit specific targets eg. (TKI, etc.). No natural substances tested. (about $2000)
Onconomics Extracts. This test includes only the assessment of natural substances and plant extracts for anticancer potency. No chemotherapeutic agents tested and no tumor suppressor genes tested. (about $1800)
Onconomics Plus. This test is both the Onconomics and Onconomics Extracts. The most complete and the most information for personal cancer care and support. (about $3100)
Circulating Cell Numbers
Below the index of markers on the following tests: Oncocount, Oncotrace, and Oncotrail you will find the below statement about index of cell number.
Index of circulating cells number: (If Over limit: Advanced or Progression of Disease, If Less than limit: Early disease or disease is responding to a treatment plan).
Breast cancer < 5cells /7.5ml, Prostate cancer < 20cells/ml, Sarcoma <15cells/6.5ml, Colon cancer <5cells/ml, Lung cancer <10cell/ml. All cancer types other than those listed above should be <5 cells/ml.
These numbers are the upper limits for these type cancers. Meaning, the lower the number the less likely they will have a metastases or reoccurrence. The only normal number is zero (0) cells found. And after starting therapy you want to see the numbers decrease and the positive and phenotypes start going negative as well.
RGCC has performed over 1800 tests since 4/2004. From a purely clinical aspect I explain our goals to the patient as follows: my first goal is to get the CSC count below 5 cells/unit and the next goal is to get the numbers below 3 cells/unit. I also let the patient know that the cell count may have been higher than the above limits at some time before we did the test.