[Gynecologic Oncology]Predictive value of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) captured by microfluidic de
•Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and CTC clusters were seen in ovarian cancer patients. •In newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patients, CTC counts correlated with clinical prognosis. •Isolated CTCs were successfully cultured ex vivo in two patients.
Objective To test an electrically conductive chip, incorporating a nanoroughened microfluidic platform for the capture of circulating tumor cells (CTCs), and assess its clinical merit in instances of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC).
A total of 54 patients with EOC recruited between August 2014 and May 2015 were enrolled in this prospective study. CTCs in peripheral blood were detected in advance of primary tumor resection and before initiating adjuvant chemotherapy for recurrent disease. We identified CTCs as EpCAM-positive and DAPI-positive, and CD45-negative feature.
Twenty-four patients with primary disease and 30 patients with recurrences were included in the study. CTCs were detected in 98.1% (53/54). In newly diagnosed patients, median counts of single CTCs and CTC clusters were 4 (0−13) and 1(0–14), respectively. In those with recurrences, median counts were 3 (1–9) and 1(0–24), respectively. Such counts did not differ significantly by tumor stage or by serum CA125 level; but progression-free survival declined at a cutpoint of ≥3 CTCs, and CTC-cluster positivity correlated with platinum resistance. Isolated CTCs (successfully cultured ex vivo in two patients) showed greater sensitivity to anticancer drugs and proliferated more rapidly than did established cell lines.
Conclusion Proof-of-concept was provided for an electrically conductive and nanoroughened microfluidic platform-based chip designed to capture CTCs in patients with EOC. A larger patient sampling and longer duration of follow-up are needed to determine its suitability for clinical use.
Gynecologic Oncology; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2017.02.042