FAQ about the maintrac method

maintrac is a diagnostic laboratory method for quantitative detection of epithelial cells in blood.suspicious of tumor origin

What are circulating tumor cells (CTCs)?

Cells from solid tumors can enter the blood stream. They form the systemic part of the tumor, in the body.

What is the significance of circulating tumor cells (CETCs)?

Circulating tumor cells can settle in foreign tissues and grow into metastases. Apparently, circulating cells can survive in the body for very long times. The number and growth pattern of circulating tumor cells are key for the patient's course of disease.

What is the difference between tumor cells and epithelial tumor cells(CETCs)?

Tumor sells refer to cells of all tumors, even in leukemias and lymphomas. Epithelial tumor cells refer only to cells from epithelial tumors and carcinomas.

Can maintrac identify the type of cancer and its degree of aggressiveness?

Primarily not. Properties of the circulating tumor cells may indicate the origin of these cells and be a prerequisite for an optimal therapeutic approach. If, however, the cell number increases, it is a sign of tumor activity.

Can maintrac prevent metastases?

maintrac is a diagnostic method. It may help early detection of a tendency to metastasize - much earlier than imaging techniques.

Can tumor cells change?

Yes, the response pattern of tumor cells can change even during therapy by various mechanisms that are largely unknown. It is therefore very important, to test the tumor cells repeatedly for their properties (genes, receptors) during the course of disease.

Are there threshold values for the cell count?

Every patient is unique, every tumor is distinct. In this respect, there are no generally accepted critical values. In order to determine an increase or decrease in cell count, at least two tests are necessary.

Are the costs for maintrac covered by health insurance providers?

maintrac represents an individual health service (IgeL in Germany). Negotiations with health insurance providers are ongoing. Currently you can request your health insurance provider to cover the costs . Some of them do cover the costs.

Are there any studies published concerning the maintrac approach?

The significance of maintrac is well documented in studies and published in high impact journals. The current list of studies can be found here.

Can the course of disease be monitored by maintrac?

Yes, by enumerating the tumor cells at specific intervals, the tumor activity throughout the entire course of disease can be monitored. Since the circulating tumor cells can be inactive for a long time, it is important to follow the cell numbers. If the cell count changes, the current therapy may be adjusted timely.

Is the chemosensitivity test in vitro comparable to the effectiveness in the patient?

The chemosensitivity test is an indication of the effectiveness of the tested medication. The final success of therapy depends on the achieved concentration in the blood, tumor and metastases.

Which statement provides maintrac to the metastatic setting?

An increase in the number of circulating tumor cells in blood may indicate a tumor growth or metastases and correlates highly significant with the progression.

What are the benefits for patients using maintrac?

In therapy, maintrac allows for a straight point of view on the therapeutic response. It is therefore a control of success of the applied therapies. The course of disease can be monitored.

Are there any disadvantages for patients using maintrac?

Some patients are afraid, when cells are found, when the cells do not respond to therapy and the number of cells increases, as this may be a sign of recurrence. Then, however, therapy could be timely adjusted.

What are the psycho-oncological impacts of maintrac on patients?

A disease like cancer is not easy to bear for patients and their families. Uncertainty as to whether the cancer is now defeated and the fear that if it comes back, are permanent companions. Many patients are grateful for the knowledge that gives them their cell count. Thus they can better tolerate their disease.

Which types of tumors can be diagnosed with maintrac?

The possible application covers solid epithelial tumors (almost all tumors). In case of other tumors, the Dr. Pachmann Laboratory will be glad to assist and advise you.

Is maintrac just another tumor marker?

The circulating tumor cells are a kind of biomarker. It is, however, about the cells from the tumor itself and not about proteins released by the cells secondarily. Therefore the context of cell count and tumor activity is more direct than that of tumor markers.

Do you have any questions?

Don't hesitate to contact us by phone +49 (0)921 78 77 94 54, send us an e-mail via our contact form or ask your question directly.
Please understand that we can not answer every question online. A thorough answer requires some time and should help all patients alike.



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Akkreditiertes Labor Dr. Pachmann
All investigations are handled and performed by our accredited lab partner, Dr. Ulrich Pachmann, Bayreuth, doctor of Transfusion Medicine, www.laborpachmann.de.