Enrichment of circulating head and neck tumour cells using spiral microfluidic technology

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Scientific Reports, 2017, 7
Issue Date:
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© 2017 The Author(s). Whilst locoregional control of head and neck cancers (HNCs) has improved over the last four decades, long-term survival has remained largely unchanged. A possible reason for this is that the rate of distant metastasis has not changed. Such disseminated disease is reflected in measurable levels of cancer cells in the blood of HNC patients, referred to as circulating tumour cells (CTCs). Numerous marker-independent techniques have been developed for CTC isolation and detection. Recently, microfluidics-based platforms have come to the fore to avoid molecular bias. In this pilot, proof of concept study, we evaluated the use of the spiral microfluidic chip for CTC enrichment and subsequent detection in HNC patients. CTCs were detected in 13/24 (54%) HNC patients, representing both early to late stages of disease. Importantly, in 7/13 CTC-positive patients, CTC clusters were observed. This is the first study to use spiral microfluidics technology for CTC enrichment in HNC.
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