Label-free enrichment of rare unconventional circulating neoplastic cells using a microfluidic dielectrophoretic sorting device

Published on by Jose Montoya Mira
Cellular circulating biomarkers from the primary tumor like circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and circulating hybrid cells (CHCs) have been described to harbor tumor-like phenotype and genotype. CHCs are present in higher numbers than CTCs which support their translational potential. Methods for isolation of CHCs do not exist and are restricted to low-throughput, time consuming, and biased methodologies. We report the development of a label-free dielectrophoretic microfluidic platform facilitating enrichment of CHCs in a high-throughput and rapid fashion by depleting healthy peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). We demonstrated up to 96.5% depletion of PBMCs resulting in 18.6-fold enrichment of cancer cells. In PBMCs from pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients, the platform enriched neoplastic cells identified by their KRAS mutant status using droplet digital PCR with one hour of processing. Enrichment was achieved in 75% of the clinical samples analyzed, establishing this approach as a promising way to non-invasively analyze tumor cells from patients.

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Oregon Health & Science University. Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center.