This test provides information, based on the detection of circulating tumour cells, about whether and where the tumour is likely to spread.
Studies show that the cancer cells that have the potential to spread from the primary tumour express specific genes and proteins, or markers. These markers vary according to the organ that the tumour will spread to.
The Metastat test looks for a collection of markers that are detected on specific organs and parts of the body, such as the lung, brain, liver, and bones.
Purpose of the test
This test provides information, based on the detection of circulating tumour cells, about whether and where a tumour is likely to spread. The Metastat test looks for a collection of markers that are detected on specific organs and parts of the body, such as the lung, brain, liver, and bones.
This test uses a patient’s blood samples, which are analysed using two different methods: real-time PCR, which detects the levels of specific marker genes, and flow cytometry, which detects the protein levels produced by these genes.
The results of the Metastat test are compared to a control sample, and the results are given with according to the format described in this table.
The Metastat test requires 7-10 ml of whole (peripheral) blood, to be sent an immobilising liquid in a 10ml volume Falcon tube provided by RGCC.
Support and training
RGCC provides phone and online support on how to conduct the test and interpret the results. We also provide regular training courses for clinicians in order to familiarise them with the tests.
How to take a sample
RGCC will provide you with a transportation container with the following:
- Two vials for blood samples (note you only need one, another is provided in case)
- A cooling bag containing an ice pack
- A medical form
- Paperwork required to transport biological samples
The blood sample vials should be stored in the fridge. The ice pack should be kept in a freezer for at least 24 hours before it is used.
Blood samples for the Metastat test require 15-25 ml of venous blood. Please discard the first 5ml of blood collected, to reduce the likelihood of contamination.
As soon as the blood sample is taken, place it in the vial, then close the top and roll it gently. Place the vial inside the transportation container. Please ensure that the medical form is completed, signed by a doctor and the patient and enclosed in the package.
Sending your samples
How to send your samples to RGCC
Step 1 – Arranging courier collection
Please give us 1-2 days’ notice of the shipment date in order to arrange collection. We will need the following details to arrange collection: your full postal address, including postal or zip code, a contact telephone number and a named contact to pass to the courier.
We usually suggest you do these tests in the morning to allow time for the courier to collect the samples. Please bear in mind that the courier will contact you to inform you of the time of their last daily collection.
The courier we use is DHL Express. If you do not wish to use our courier, please contact us for our courier account number. You will need to supply this to the courier company, so the shipping fees can be charged to RGCC.
Step 2 – Complete paperwork
Complete all the necessary courier documents:
- A UN3373 biological substance category B commercial invoice (non-European countries only);
- Enter the description of the shipment as ‘biological substance category B, UN3373’, and record the total value of the shipment as US$1;
- Please be sure that the label ‘UN3373 diagnostic specimen’ is on the outer wall of the container. These labels are included in the transportation container provided by RGCC;
- Once the package has been collected by a courier, please email us to inform us that your sample is on its way.
The paperwork will be sent to you once your transportation container is dispatched.
What makes the difference