EpCAM-independent capture of circulating tumor cells with a 'universal CTC-chip'.

Research paper by Yasuhiro Y Chikaishi, Kazue K Yoneda, Takashi T Ohnaga, Fumihiro F Tanaka

Indexed on: 15 Nov '16Published on: 15 Nov '16Published in: Oncology reports


Capture of circulating tumor cells (CTCs), which are shed from the primary tumor site and circulate in the blood, remains a technical challenge. CellSearch® is the only clinically approved CTC detection system, but has provided only modest sensitivity in detecting CTCs mainly because epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM)-negative tumor cells may not be captured. To achieve more sensitive CTC‑capture, we have developed a novel microfluidic platform, a 'CTC-chip' comprised of light-curable resins that has a unique advantage in that any capture antibody is easily conjugated. In the present study, we showed that EpCAM-negative tumor cells as well as EpCAM-positive cells were captured with the novel 'universal CTC-chip' as follows: i) human lung cancer cells (PC-9), with strong EpCAM expression, were efficiently captured with the CTC-chip coated with an anti-EpCAM antibody (with an average capture efficiency of 101% when tumor cells were spiked in phosphate‑buffered saline (PBS) and 88% when spiked in blood); ii) human mesothelioma cells (ACC-MESO-4), with no EpCAM expression but with podoplanin expression, were captured with the CTC-chip coated with an anti-podoplanin antibody (average capture efficiency of 78% when tumor cells were spiked in PBS and 38% when spiked in blood), whereas ACC-MESO-4 cells were not captured with the CTC-chip coated with the anti-EpCAM antibody. These results indicate that the novel 'CTC-chip' can be useful in sensitive EpCAM-independent detection of CTCs, which may provide new insights into personalized medicine.