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To detect folate receptor (FR)-positive circulating tumour cells (FR+ CTCs) by using ligand-targeted polymerase chain reaction (LT-PCR) in periampullary cancer patients and to investigate the diagnostic value of FR+ CTCs in distinguishing pancreatic cancer (PC) from benign pancreatic disease. CTCs were enriched from 3 mL of peripheral blood and portal vein blood by immunomagnetic depletion of leucocytes and were then detected by LT-PCR. The diagnostic performance of FR+ CTCs in PC was investigated by receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis. In total, 57 consecutive patients, including 46 patients with PC, five patients with non-pancreatic periampullary cancer (non-PC) and six patients with benign pancreatic diseases, were enrolled. FR+ CTC levels were significantly higher in patients with malignant diseases (PC and non-PC) than in patients with benign pancreatic diseases (P < .01). There was no notable difference in CTC levels between patients with PC and those with non-PC (P > .05). The combination of FR+ CTCs with carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA19-9) had better diagnostic efficiency than each of these two markers alone, with high sensitivity (97.8%) and specificity (83.3%). LT-PCR is feasible and reliable for detecting FR+ CTCs in patients with periampullary cancer. FR+ CTCs, especially when used in combination with CA19-9, have potential as a biomarker for the diagnosis of PC. © 2020 The Authors. Cell Proliferation published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Hao Cheng, Wei He, Jun Yang, Qing Ye, Lu Cheng, Yiming Pan, Liang Mao, Xuehui Chu, Chenglin Lu, Gang Li, Yudong Qiu, Jian He. Ligand-targeted polymerase chain reaction for the detection of folate receptor-positive circulating tumour cells as a potential diagnostic biomarker for pancreatic cancer. Cell proliferation. 2020 Jul 24;53(9):e12880

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PMID: 32707596

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