Background: We investigated whether circulating endothelial cells (CECs) predict clinical outcome of first-line chemotherapy and bevacizumab in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients. Patients and methods: In a substudy of the randomized phase II FNCLCC ACCORD 13/0503 trial, CECs (CD45- CD31+ CD146+ 7-amino-actinomycin- cells) were enumerated in 99 patients by four-color flow cytometry at baseline and after one cycle of treatment. We correlated CEC levels with objective response rate (ORR), 6-month progression-free survival (PFS) rate (primary end point of the trial), PFS, and overall survival (OS). Multivariate analyses of potential prognostic factors, including CEC counts and Köhne score, were carried out. Results: By multivariate analysis, high baseline CEC levels were the only independent prognostic factor for 6-month PFS rate (P < 0.01) and were independently associated with worse PFS (P = 0.02). High CEC levels after one cycle were the only independent prognostic factor for ORR (P = 0.03). High CEC levels at both time points independently predicted worse ORR (P = 0.025), 6-month PFS rate (P = 0.007), and PFS (P = 0.02). Köhne score was the only variable associated with OS. Conclusion: CEC levels at baseline and after one treatment cycle may independently predict ORR and PFS in mCRC patients starting first-line bevacizumab and chemotherapy.
- Circulating endothelial cells
- Metastatic colorectal cancer