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Filtration Parameters Influencing Circulating Tumor Cell Enrichment from Whole Blood

by Frank A. W. Coumans, Guus van Dalum, Markus Beck, Leon W. M. M. Terstappen

Filtration can achieve circulating tumor cell (CTC) enrichment from blood. Key parameters such as flow-rate, applied pressure, and fixation, vary largely between assays and their influence is not well understood. Here, we used a filtration system, to monitor these parameters and determine their relationships. Whole blood, or its components, with and without spiked tumor cells were filtered through track-etched filters. We characterize cells passing through filter pores by their apparent viscosity; the viscosity of a fluid that would pass with the same flow. We measured a ratio of 5·104∶102∶1 for the apparent viscosities of 15 µm diameter MDA-231 cells, 10 µm white cells and 90 fl red cells passing through a 5 µm pore. Fixation increases the pressure needed to pass cells through 8 µm pores 25-fold and halves the recovery of spiked tumor cells. Filtration should be performed on unfixed samples at a pressure of ∼10 mbar for a 1 cm2 track-etched filter with 5 µm pores. At this pressure MDA-231 cells move through the filter in 1 hour. If fixation is needed for sample preservation, a gentle fixative should be selected. The difference in apparent viscosity between CTC and blood cells is key in optimizing recovery of CTC.

Authors:   Frank A. W. Coumans et al.
Journal:   PLoS ONE
Volume:   8
edition:   4
Year:   2013
Pages:   e61774
DOI:   10.1371/journal.pone.0061774
Publication date:   26-Apr-2013
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