Antibody-independent capture of circulating tumor cells of non-epithelial origin with the ApoStream® system

Priya Balasubramanian, Robert J. Kinders, Shivaani Kummar, Vishal Gupta, David Hasegawa, Anoop Menachery, Scott M. Lawrence, Lihua Wang, Katherine Ferry-Galow, Darren Davis, Ralph E. Parchment, Joseph E. Tomaszewski, James H. Doroshow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are increasingly employed for research and clinical monitoring of cancer, though most current methods do not permit the isolation of non-epithelial tumor cells. Furthermore, CTCs isolated with antibody-dependent methods are not suitable for downstream experimental uses, including in vitro culturing and implantation in vivo. In the present study, we describe the development, validation, and transfer across laboratories of a new antibody-independent device for the enrichment of CTCs from blood samples of patients with various cancer diagnoses. The ApoStream® device uses dielectrophoresis (DEP) field-flow assist to separate non-hematopoietic cells from the peripheral blood mononuclear fraction by exposing cells in a laminar flow stream to a critical alternating current frequency. The ApoStream® device was calibrated and validated in a formal cross-laboratory protocol using 3 different cancer cell lines spanning a range of distinct phenotypes (A549, MDA-MB-231, and ASPS-1). In spike-recovery experiments, cancer cell recovery efficiencies appeared independent of spiking level and averaged between 68% and 55%, depending on the cell line. No inter-run carryover was detected in control samples. Moreover, the clinical-readiness of the device in the context of non-epithelial cancers was evaluated with blood specimens from fifteen patients with metastatic sarcoma. The ApoStream® device successfully isolated CTCs from all patients with sarcomas examined, and the phenotypic heterogeneity of the enriched cells was demonstrated by fluorescence in situ hybridization or with multiplex immunophenotyping panels. Therefore, the ApoStream® technology expands the clinical utility of CTC evaluation to mesenchymal cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0175414
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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