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Entrapment of Prostate Cancer Circulating Tumor Cells with a Sequential Size-Based Microfluidic Chip

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journal contribution
posted on 23.05.2018 by Xiang Ren, Brittni M. Foster, Parham Ghassemi, Jeannine S. Strobl, Bethany A. Kerr, Masoud Agah
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are broadly accepted as an indicator for early cancer diagnosis and disease severity. However, there is currently no reliable method available to capture and enumerate all CTCs as most systems require either an initial CTC isolation or antibody-based capture for CTC enumeration. Many size-based CTC detection and isolation microfluidic platforms have been presented in the past few years. Here we describe a new size-based, multiple-row cancer cell entrapment device that captured LNCaP-C4-2 prostate cancer cells with >95% efficiency when in spiked mouse whole blood at ∼50 cells/mL. The capture ratio and capture limit on each row was optimized and it was determined that trapping chambers with five or six rows of micro constriction channels were needed to attain a capture ratio >95%. The device was operated under a constant pressure mode at the inlet for blood samples which created a uniform pressure differential across all the microchannels in this array. When the cancer cells deformed in the constriction channel, the blood flow temporarily slowed down. Once inside the trapping chamber, the cancer cells recovered their original shape after the deformation created by their passage through the constriction channel. The CTCs reached the cavity region of the trapping chamber, such that the blood flow in the constriction channel resumed. On the basis of this principle, the CTCs will be captured by this high-throughput entrapment chip (CTC-HTECH), thus confirming the potential for our CTC-HTECH to be used for early stage CTC enrichment and entrapment for clinical diagnosis using liquid biopsies.