FAQs about maintrac®

Here you can find answers to the most frequently asked questions about maintrac®.

What is maintrac®?

maintrac® is a diagnostic laboratory method for quantitative detection of circulating tumor cells in the blood. The resulting dynamic is used to develop informed statements about current and further treatment measures.
To learn more about the maintrac® methodology, click here.

Are the costs for the maintrac® test covered by health insurance?

In Germany, maintrac® is already covered by many private health insurance plans as an individual health service (“individuelle Gesundheitsleistung” or IGeL). If you wish, we can assist you with your application for reimbursement of costs from your health insurance company.

What are circulating tumor cells?

The majority of advanced tumors release cells into the bloodstream. These cells, known as circulating tumor cells, can then be found throughout the body and may grow into metastases in other tissue.

Why are circulating tumor cells important?

The number and growth pattern of circulating tumor cells are key factors determining the course of patient’s disease. Even after treatment that appears to be successful, circulating cells can remain in the body for a very long time and cause malignant neoplasms (growths).

Can the course of disease be monitored by maintrac®?

Enumerating tumor cells at regular intervals allows tumor activity to be monitored before, during and after the entire course of treatment. As circulating tumor cells can remain inactive for a long time, it is important to track cell numbers even after treatment is complete.

Can drug testing in the laboratory lead to conclusions about efficacy in the patient?

In the laboratory, isolated circulating tumor cells are exposed to certain drug products for a specific period of time. The mortality rate of the tumor cells observed during this drug testing provides evidence about the efficacy of the substance in patients.

Is the maintrac® test also useful in situations where the tumor has already metastasized?

Even in the metastatic setting, the maintrac® test can track changes in cell number, which is useful for drawing conclusions about the success of treatment in a patient and the further course of the disease.

Can maintrac® be used to identify the type of cancer and its degree of aggressiveness?

Characteristics of the circulating tumor cells may provide evidence about the origin of the cells and hence to the type of primary tumor. An increasing cell count points to higher tumor activity (aggressiveness). maintrac® can help to early detect a tendency of cancer to metastasize.

Can the maintrac® test be used as an initial diagnosis?

The maintrac® method can only be used as progress monitoring tool when initial tumor diagnosis has already been made. Other factors such as certain diseases, injuries or surgeries may also result in a short-term increase in the number of epithelial cells in the bloodstream. For this reason, it is important to understand the patient’s exact concomitant circumstances in order to produce meaningful statements about the course of cell numbers.

Are there threshold values for the cell count?

Every patient is unique and every tumor is different. Consequently, there are no generally accepted reference values. Hence, each case is evaluated individually, taking into consideration the unique medical history of the patient in question.

What types of tumors can the maintrac® test be used for?

The range of application covers virtually all types of tumors. To assess your particular situation, please contact your attending specialist or the Dr. Pachmann Laboratory. We would be happy to advise you (0921/850200).

Can the properties of tumor cells change over the course of a disease?

Because they divide rapidly, tumor cells can change their properties frequently. This change may affect the response to treatment and hence regular testing of these properties can be beneficial for the success of treatment.

Have there been studies published about the maintrac® method?

To date, the clinical relevance of maintrac® has been confirmed in 13 studies involving a total of more than 650 patients.