Along with breast and prostate cancer, lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. Malignant tumors emerge by the uncontrolled growth of certain types of cells in the lung tissue, in the bronchi and tracheae. The cancer cells grow into the surrounding lung tissue and increasingly destroy it. Cells from the tumor often pass into the lymphatic system and blood vessels, which can lead to metastases mainly in the lungs. But with the progressive development of the disease, these can also settle in the liver and in other regions of the body.

Cigarette smoke is considered to be the main cause for the development of lung cancer. Similarly, various other substances, such as substances used in coal-gas production, in foundries, or in rubber manufacture can be triggers of the disease. Furthermore, nutrition, infections and genetic predisposition are playing a role in the development of lung cancer.

Symptomatic signs of lung cancer include chronic hoarseness, blood cough and breathlessness. However, lung cancer rarely shows any symptoms in early stages, which is why the disease is usually diagnosed late. For this reason, lung cancer is often associated with a poor prognosis. Actually, carcinomas of the lung show a higher mortality than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined.

maintrac® for lung cancer (bronchial carcinoma)

In cases of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in its early stages - still locally limited, the common treatment is surgical removal of the tumor along with the affected lymph nodes. If a complete resection is not possible, a treatment combination consisting of surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy is normally applied. maintrac® can help with monitoring the success of therapy and in selecting treatment options that are most likely to have success in the different stages of the disease and its treatment. During long-term monitoring, after a successful therapy, maintrac® also gives indications of any possible recurrence of tumor activity

The lung is often the target location for distance metastases from other organs (lung filiae). Surgical removal may be considered if only a few metastases are found. If this approach is no longer feasible, a radio-chemotherapy, the simultaneous treatment with cytostatics and radiotheapy, may be favorable for the patient. Before using the drugs on a patient, they can be tested for their effectiveness against circulating tumor cells with maintrac®.

Innovative, targeted substances mainly function on the basis of specific characteristics of the tumor, and as such, it can be advantageous to determine the therapy-relevant characteristics of the tumor.

  • In about 10 - 15% of the cases, there is mutation and/or amplification of the gene for the epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR). Analysis of the EGF receptor expression gives an indication of any increased growth rate within tumor cells. Tumors with a mutation respond to the small molecules Gefitinib (Iressa) or Erlotinib (Tarceva). Therefore, it may be of great benefit using maintrac® to determine the EGFR status of the circulating tumor cells.

  • In many non-small cell tumors of the lung, an overexpression of the EGF receptor can be detected. In order to block the growth-promoting behavior of the activated tumor cells, specific antibodies such as Panitumumab (Vectibix) or Cetuximab (Erbitux) can be applied.