Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) are tumor cells that detach from the primary tumor and travel in the bloodstream, spreading from the original tumor to other locations, leading to cancer metastasis. These cells exist in peripheral blood of cancer patients and detection of CTCs can help to determine the process of metastasis. In contrast with other blood cells, the number of CTCs is very rare in blood which makes them difficult to detect.
Yet developing ways to detect and analyze CTCs in blood is essential, because these cells can assist cancer research as well as clinical management for cancer patients. It plays a crucial role in diagnosis prognosis and monitoring of treatment.
In order to differentiate CTC from all other cells in the blood stream, the following characteristics are used to define CTCs:
Positive: EpCAM, Cytokeratin 8, Cytokeratin 18, or Cytokeratin 19
Size: at least 4 um x 4 um
Brief Introduction to CTC Research
The first step in conducting CTC research is to effectively isolate CTCs. Several methods are listed below:
Morphological methods, based on
Biomorphology (Size & Deformability)
Immunological methods, including
CTCs can then be identified based on their characteristics using cytometric and nucleic-acid based approaches:
ICC (Immunocytochemistry )
FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization)
Nucleic acid method
ClearCell® CX - Label-Free, Microfiltration System for Isolation, Enumeration, and Retrieval of CTCs
Abnova's ClearCell® CX is a label-free, microfiltration system for isolation, enumeration, and retrieval of circulating tumor cells (CTCs). Circulating tumor cells are cancer cells that have detached from the main tumor before entering the bloodstream. They represent an important transition in cancer transformation and metastasis, and portend significant clinical impact in diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and monitoring. Current isolation methods of circulating tumor cells rely on more complicated and harsher techniques and use of general surface biomarkers to capture the CTCs. This results in biochemical alterations and damages to the CTCs rendering them unsuitable for downstream protein and gene analysis and cell culture.