Circulating Cancer Associated Macrophage-like Cells as a Potential New Prognostic Marker in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma


BACKGROUND: Circulating Cancer Associated Macrophage-like cells (CAMLs) have been described as novel liquid biopsy analytes and unfavorable prognostic markers in some tumor entities, with scarce data for Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinomas (PDAC).

METHODS: Baseline and follow-up blood was drawn from resected curative (n = 36) and palliative (n = 19) PDAC patients. A microfluidic size-based cell enrichment approach (ParsortixTM) was used for CAML detection, followed by immunofluorescence staining using pan-keratin, CD14, and CD45 antibodies to differentiate between CAMLs, circulating tumor cells (CTCs), and leukocytes.

RESULTS: CAMLs were detectable at baseline in 36.1% of resected patients and 47.4% of palliative PDAC patients. CAML detection was tumor stage independent. Follow-up data indicated that detection of CAMLs (in 45.5% of curative patients) was an independent prognostic factor for shorter recurrence-free survival (RFS) (HR: 4.3, p = 0.023). Furthermore, a combined analysis with CTCs showed the detectability of at least one of these cell populations in 68.2% of resected patients at follow-up. The combined detection of CAMLs and CTCs was also significantly associated with short RFS (HR: 8.7, p = 0.003).

CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study shows that detection of CAMLs in PDAC patients can provide prognostic information, either alone or even more pronounced in combination with CTCs, which indicates the power of liquid biopsy marker analyses.

Bibliographical data

Original languageEnglish
Article number2955
Publication statusPublished - 17.11.2022
PubMed 36428523