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Differential Chemo-/Biopharmaceutical Sensitivity Test (DCBS)

Isolated cells of prostatic cancer (fluorescence microscopy
Nuclei: blue; tumor-specific proteins green and red

Due to the highly individual nature of a tumor, physicians can only guess as to whether a patient will respond to chemotherapy or to biopharmaceutical drugs. We can offer several tests that have proven successful in determining which treatment might work. The ATP-TCA (tumor chemosensitivity assay), an ex vivo test, is one of them and determines chemo-/biopharmaceutical sensitivity. In the ATP-TCA, the isolated tumor cells in a cell culture are treated for five days with the same cytotoxics and biopharmaceuticals (alone or in combination with others) that are considered for the patient’s treatment. The test uses the ATP indicator for living cells to measure to which degree the cancer cells have been destroyed by the drugs. For years, the test has been used successfully for solid tumors in breast and ovarian cancer, cancer in the large intestines, lung cancer, brain cancer, sarcoma, malignant melanoma, tumors in the pancreas, and so on.

Tumor growth inhibition by  naturopathic compounds (%)

Tumor growth inhibition by chemotherapeutic compounds (in %)

3D micro tissue (spheroid) formed by hanging-drop technology

Test Requirements

Fresh tissue for the isolation of living cancer cells must be available. Tissue collected in fine-needle aspiration biopsies usually does not suffice. However, the amount of tissue collected in vacuum assisted biopsies and punch biopsies most commonly does. Tissue gathered from malignant pleural effusions and ascites (from the peritoneal cavity) is very well suited to the test. Vital tissue subjected to the CryoLife procedure is also a possibility, while conventionally cryopreserved tissue is not. The same unfortunately applies to formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue blocks. If the test requirements for the ATP-TCA cannot be met, we recommend our PANTHER-chip test for gene signature analysis.

In special cases, in which no fresh tumor tissue can be provided, we can also carry out the test by drawing on circulating tumor cells gathered from peripheral blood.

We are happy to consult with you as to which test will provide you with the best result.

Duration of Testing

The test results will be available after one week at the latest.


In Germany, the lead time is 24 hours before a planned procedure. A single call will do, just ring us at 0211 90 98 96 90 (landline). We will take care of the entire logistic process for you.

Literature on ATP-TCA

We are glad to consult you in finding the right treatment!