Rare Event Phenotyping and Molecular Characterization: Circulating Tumor Cells

  • Moen SenEmail author
  • Ling Wang
  • Liping Yu
  • Erica L. Carpenter
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2032)


Noninvasive isolation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from patient blood samples allows for interrogation of valuable molecular and phenotypic information useful for disease diagnosis and monitoring response to therapy. However, CTCs are extremely rare relative to red and white blood cells (R/WBC), thus making CTC isolation from unmanipulated whole blood very time-consuming. Moreover, single CTC analysis often requires hand-picking, a step that can result in more CTC loss and compromised cell integrity. Here we describe an automated flow cytometry-based approach for isolation and analysis of single, viable CTCs that combines gentle RBC lysis and magnetic, no-wash negative-depletion of WBCs, followed by a highly adaptable sorting protocol for rare cells of interest. Multiparametric flow-cytometric panels allow probing of numerous extracellular markers for immunophenotyping, while whole transcriptome analysis contributes to molecular characterization of individual CTCs. Index sorting links single CTC proteogenomics information.

Key words

Circulating tumor cells Acoustic cell enrichment Magnetic depletion Flow-cytometric analysis Molecular indexing Phenotyping 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Moen Sen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ling Wang
    • 2
  • Liping Yu
    • 3
  • Erica L. Carpenter
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Medicine, Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.BD Technologies and InnovationResearch Triangle ParkUSA
  3. 3.Applied Cells, Inc.Santa ClaraUSA

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