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PLoS One. 2013 Sep 16;8(9):e75865. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075865. eCollection 2013.

High-performance size-based microdevice for the detection of circulating tumor cells from peripheral blood in rectal cancer patients.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai, China ; Department of Oncology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.


Since individualized therapy becomes more and more important in the treatment of rectal cancer, an accurate and effective approach should be established in the clinical settings to help physicians to make their decisions. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs), originated from either primary or metastatic cancer, could provide important information for diagnosis and monitoring of cancer. However, the implication and development of CTCs are limited due to the extreme rarity of these tumor cells. In this study we fabricated a simple and high-performance microfluidic device, which exploited numerous filtered microchannels in it to enrich the large-sized target tumor cells from whole blood. A very high CTC capture efficiency (average recovery rate: 94%) was obtained in this device at the optimum flow rate of 0.5 mL/h and channel height of 5 µm. Additionally, we used this device for detecting CTCs in 60 patients with rectal cancer. The CTC counts of rectal cancer patients were significantly higher than those in healthy subjects. Furthermore, the CTC counts detected by this device were significantly higher than those by EpCAM bead-based method for rectal cancer patients with various stage. Especially, for localized rectal cancer patients, the positive rates of samples with more than 3 CTCs per 5 mL blood by use of microdevice vs. EpCAM-based ones were 100% vs. 47%, respectively. Thus, this device provides a new and effective tool for accurate identification and measurement of CTCs in patients with rectal cancer, and has broad potential in clinical practice.

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