Capturing Cancer: Emerging Microfluidic Technologies for the Capture and Characterization of Circulating Tumor Cells

Weiyi Qian, Yan Zhang, Weiqiang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) escape from primary or metastatic lesions and enter into circulation, carrying significant information of cancer progression and metastasis. Capture of CTCs from the bloodstream and the characterization of these cells hold great significance for the detection, characterization, and monitoring of cancer. Despite the urgent need from clinics, it remains a major challenge to capture and retain these rare cells from human blood with high specificity and yield. Recent exciting advances in micro/nanotechnology, microfluidics, and materials science have enable versatile, robust, and efficient cell isolation and processing through the development of new micro/nanoengineered devices and biomaterials. This review provides a summary of recent progress along this direction, with a focus on emerging methods for CTC capture and processing, and their application in cancer research. Furthermore, classical as well as emerging cellular characterization methods are reviewed to reveal the role of CTCs in cancer progression and metastasis, and hypotheses are proposed in regard to the potential emerging research directions most desired in CTC-related cancer research. Capturing circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from the bloodstream and characterizing these cells hold great significance for the detection, characterization, and monitoring of cancer. This review provides a summary of emerging micro/nanotechnologies for CTC capture, characterization, and application, as well as future directions in cancer research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3850-3872
Number of pages23
JournalSmall
Volume11
Issue number32
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

Keywords

  • biomaterials
  • cancer therapy
  • circulating tumor cells
  • microfluidics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)

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