CTC Technology

The CTC blood test detects and analyzes tumor cells in the bloodstream.

Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) Blood Test: FAQsHow does the CTC technology work?

The CTC blood test uses a tiny microchip-based device that detects and analyzes tumor cells in the bloodstream. In clinical trials, researchers have been able to detect tumor cells in small samples of patients’ blood, helping to determine whether or not cancer fighting therapies are working. This technology has great promise as a cancer monitoring test, helping physicians see the effectiveness of therapies and checking for recurrence. It could also potentially be used for detection; however further testing is still needed.

Can I be tested for cancer using CTC technology?

The CTC blood test is not yet available to patients as a cancer screening tool. Recent news stories have highlighted our new partnership with Johnson & Johnson, which will help our researchers develop and perfect the technology at a faster pace. Our collaboration is just beginning, but we are hopeful that it could lead to the test being made available to patients in the future.

When will the CTC test be available?

The CTC blood test has shown great promise in clinical trials. Our physicians and researchers are working closely with scientists at Veridex, LLC – a Johnson & Johnson company – to accelerate the production, testing and availability of the CTC test. As with any cancer breakthrough, we want to bring this technology to all patients as soon as possible. However, since this technology is so new it could take years to be perfected to the point where it is widely available to cancer patients and eventually to the general public.

Can I enroll in a clinical trial of the CTC test?

Clinical research on circulating tumor cells is still in its early stages. The CTC technology being developed is experimental, and currently no clinical decisions can be made based on CTC analyses. The next generation of clinical trials is being designed. When these become available, the Mass General Cancer Center will post this information on its website. Clinical trial participants must be a cancer patient at Mass General and identified as an appropriate candidate by their oncologist.

If you have cancer and wish to be seen at Mass General please call: 877-726-5130.