Clinical data from patients in two retrospective cohorts spanning both early- and late-stage breast cancer demonstrate that the mechanical conditioning (MeCo) score is the first predictive biomarker for a novel therapy to show an increase in risk score throughout the metastatic cascade: from primary tumors to circulating tumor cells (CTCs) to distant metastatic outgrowth.
The findings were presented in a poster session at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
In this exclusive MedPage Today video, lead author Julie Lang, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic, and Gus Mouneimne, PhD, chief scientific officer at MeCo Diagnostics, discuss the findings of their recent collaboration.
Following is a transcript of their remarks:
Lang: Circulating tumor cells are prognostic in both early and metastatic breast cancer patients. My group has been interested in gene expression profiling of circulating tumor cells since not all DNA mutations are expressed. Previously, my group has published work with RNA sequencing in early stage breast cancer and metastatic breast cancer. And then my colleagues from MeCo Diagnostic approached me and we embarked upon this collaboration that my colleague Gus and I will tell you about.
Mouneimne: So, actually, we’re very fortunate to work with Dr. Julie Lang, and basically what we’re interested in is developing a clinical tool that would allow on one hand to predict metastasis risk, and then on the other hand, to also predict drug response. And we’re specifically interested in antifibrotic treatment for breast cancer patients because the gene signature that we have developed, it is derived from the response of cancer cells to the mechanics of the tumor microenvironment.
So we were very lucky to have access to the data that Julie has, and we did some of the analysis together on this. And eventually we found that throughout the metastatic progression — so comparing primary tumor to CTCs to metastatic sites — MeCo score is actually increasingly higher throughout the metastatic cascade. So, this provides good evidence that MeCo score could be used to predict this progression. And we found that this actually is true in the early stage and the late stage samples. So, this also shows that this risk could be assessed early on in the disease progression.
Lang: I’m going to look forward to some clinical trial data with these antifibrotic agents that will be presented in the near future. And that will kind of set the stage — can circulating tumor cell and biomarkers be used in future clinical trials as correlative science indicative of the potential response to these antifibrotic therapies?