Published in Cancer Detection and Prevention 2000; 24(Supplement 1).

Detection of rare MCF-7 breast carcinoma cells in leukocyte mixtures by magnetic deposition analysis

M Zborowski PhD 1, B Fang 2, LR Moore, JJ Chalmers PhD 3

1 Cleveland Clinic Foundation;, 2 Case Western Reserve University; Cleveland, OH;, 3 Ohio State University, Columbus, OH,

AIMS We tested the feasibility of rare cancer cell detection by immunomagnetic labeling and a magnetic deposition on a microscopic glass slide. The novel method enabled us to view directly the magnetically-isolated cells on the magnetic deposition substrate. METHODS Human peripheral leukocytes were spiked with MCF-7 culture cells at different proportions of the number of MCF-7 cells to the number of leukocytes. The cell mixtures were labeled with anti-epithelial membrane antigen antibody and a magnetic colloid. The MCF-7 cells were selectively captured on the magnetic deposition substrate from the flowing cell suspension using specially designed magnet and a flow channel, and were stained with nucleated cell stain and mounted for microscopic analysis. RESULTS The limit of detection of the MCF-7 cells was 1:106 (n=9). The morphology of the captured cancer cells was well preserved and comparable to that seen in cytospin smears. The recovery of the MCF-7 cells from the original mixture ranged from 20% to 60%. CONCLUSIONS This is a proof-of- principle study using a model system of rare cancer cell in blood. The results of the study provided us with the basis for an ongoing study on rare cancer cell detection in the circulating blood.

KEY WORDS: magnetic cell separation, immunomagnetic separation, rare cancer cell detection.

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Paper presented at the International Symposium on Impact of Biotechnology on Cancer Diagnostic & Prognostic Indicators; Geneva, Switzerland; October 28 - 31, 2000; in the section on metastasis & prevention.