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Anal Chem. 2014 Jun 17;86(12):6088-94. doi: 10.1021/ac501243a. Epub 2014 Jun 3.

Differential detection of tumor cells using a combination of cell rolling, multivalent binding, and multiple antibodies.

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Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences and §Department of Medicine, University of Illinois , Chicago, Illinois 60612, United States.


Effective quantification and in situ identification of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in blood are still elusive because of the extreme rarity and heterogeneity of the cells. In our previous studies, we developed a novel platform that captures tumor cells at significantly improved efficiency in vitro using a unique biomimetic combination of two physiological processes: E-selectin-induced cell rolling and poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimer-mediated strong multivalent binding. Herein, we have engineered a novel multifunctional surface, on the basis of the biomimetic cell capture, through optimized incorporation of multiple antibodies directed to cancer cell-specific surface markers, such as epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM), human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER-2), and prostate specific antigen (PSA). The surfaces were tested using a series of tumor cells, MDA-PCa-2b, MCF-7, and MDA-MB-361, both in mixture in vitro and after being spiked into human blood. Our multifunctional surface demonstrated highly efficient capture of tumor cells in human blood, achieving up to 82% capture efficiency (∼10-fold enhancement than a surface with the antibodies alone) and up to 90% purity. Furthermore, the multipatterned antibodies allowed differential capturing of the tumor cells. These results support that our multifunctional surface has great potential as an effective platform that accommodates virtually any antibodies, which will likely lead to clinically significant, differential detection of CTCs that are rare and highly heterogeneous.

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