Circulating Tumour Cells Collaborative Prostate Cancer Biomarker Project

The detection of Circulating Tumour Cells (CTCs) in the blood of prostate cancer patients provides a novel, non-invasive approach to evaluating disseminated cancer for clinically informative biomarkers to better understand cancer metastasis, disease progression and monitor treatment response. The CTC field of research over the past decade has made important progression in validating the prognostic value of the enumeration of CTCs in prostate cancer and following prostate cancer treatment. This led to the FDA approval of the CellSearch technology for prostate cancer prognosis and acceptability of CTC enumeration with this platform as an end point for treatment response in prostate cancer clinical trials.

While these strides forward in monitoring prostate cancer in clinical trials have been important advances, there are significant technological challenges in the sensitivity of CTC detection, CTC definition based on molecular markers, and differential consideration of singular CTCs and multicellular aggregates of epithelial-like tumour cells, also called Circulating Tumour Microemboli (CTMs) which are commonly overlooked. Beyond enumeration, phenotypic, cellular and molecular characterisation of CTCs and CTMs is the frontier of this field exploring biomarkers of potential prognostic and predictive value, biologic insight into plasticity and the metastatic processes.

In order to improve capture and molecular and cellular analyses of CTCs and CTMs in prostate cancer patients, we will compare and refine methodologies via a collaborative approach. As a collective team, we have complementary prostate cancer patients on defined clinical trials or protocols which we will use to assess identified individual biomarkers and/or biological classes or signatures to provide biological information with potential clinical significance to prostate cancer progression and metastasis.


Colleen Nelson APCRC-Q, IHBI, QUT, TRI
Benjamin Thierry University of South Australia


2013 - 2014


Movember Global Action Plan 1 $185 000