Background: Circulating tumour cells (CTCs) are increasingly being used in the surveillance of cancer, allowing for potential early detection and real-time monitoring of disease progression. The presence of CTCs in patients with metastatic cutaneous head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (cHNSCC) has not been evaluated.
Results: CTCs were detected in eight of ten patients with regional metastatic cHNSCC (80%; range 1–44 cells/9 mL blood). CTMs were detected in three of ten patients (30%, range 1–4 cells/9 mL blood).
Methods: Preoperative blood samples from ten patients with nodal metastases from cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (cSCC) were analyzed using the IsoFluxTM System for the detection and enumeration of CTCs and circulating tumour microemboli (CTMs).
Conclusions: For the first time CTCs have been detected in patients with nodal metastases from cHNSCC. Further work is required to understand their prognostic significance and potential to directly influence clinical practice.