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PLoS One. 2015 Jun 24;10(6):e0130418. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130418. eCollection 2015.

High-Density Dielectrophoretic Microwell Array for Detection, Capture, and Single-Cell Analysis of Rare Tumor Cells in Peripheral Blood.

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Life Science Research Laboratory, Tosoh Corporation, Kanagawa, Japan.
Third Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama, Japan.
Shien-Lab, National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.


Development of a reliable platform and workflow to detect and capture a small number of mutation-bearing circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from a blood sample is necessary for the development of noninvasive cancer diagnosis. In this preclinical study, we aimed to develop a capture system for molecular characterization of single CTCs based on high-density dielectrophoretic microwell array technology. Spike-in experiments using lung cancer cell lines were conducted. The microwell array was used to capture spiked cancer cells, and captured single cells were subjected to whole genome amplification followed by sequencing. A high detection rate (70.2%-90.0%) and excellent linear performance (R2 = 0.8189-0.9999) were noted between the observed and expected numbers of tumor cells. The detection rate was markedly higher than that obtained using the CellSearch system in a blinded manner, suggesting the superior sensitivity of our system in detecting EpCAM- tumor cells. Isolation of single captured tumor cells, followed by detection of EGFR mutations, was achieved using Sanger sequencing. Using a microwell array, we established an efficient and convenient platform for the capture and characterization of single CTCs. The results of a proof-of-principle preclinical study indicated that this platform has potential for the molecular characterization of captured CTCs from patients.

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