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Transl Oncol. 2013 Feb;6(1):51-65. Epub 2013 Feb 1.

Three-Dimensional Telomeric Analysis of Isolated Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) Defines CTC Subpopulations.

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Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology, University of Manitoba, CancerCare Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada ; Department of Clinical Genetics, Institute of Biomedicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden ; Systems Biology Research Centre, School of Life Sciences, University of Skovde, Skovde, Sweden.


Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have been identified with the potential to serve as suitable biomarkers for tumor stage and progression, but the availability of effective isolation technique(s) coupled with detailed molecular characterization have been the challenges encountered in making CTCs clinically relevant. For the first time, we combined isolation of CTCs using the ScreenCell filtration technique with quantitative analysis of CTC telomeres by TeloView. This resulted in the identification and molecular characterization of different subpopulations of CTCs in the same patient. Three-dimensional (3D) telomeric analysis was carried out on isolated CTCs of 19 patients that consisted of four different tumor types, namely, prostate, colon, breast, melanoma, and one lung cancer cell line. With telomeric analysis of the filter-isolated CTCs, the level of chromosomal instability (CIN) of the CTCs can be determined. Our study shows that subpopulations of CTCs can be identified on the basis of their 3D telomeric properties.


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