Microdevice for the isolation and enumeration of cancer cells from blood

Biomed Microdevices. 2009 Aug;11(4):883-92. doi: 10.1007/s10544-009-9305-9.


Cancer metastasis is the main attribute to cancer-related deaths. Furthermore, clinical reports have shown a strong correlation between the disease development and number of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the peripheral blood of cancer patients. Here, we present a label-free microdevice capable of isolating cancer cells from whole blood via their distinctively different physical properties such as deformability and size. The isolation efficiency is at least 80% for tests performed on breast and colon cancer cells. Viable isolated cells are also obtained which may give further insights to the understanding of the metastatic process. Contrasting with conventional biochemical techniques, the uniqueness of this microdevice lies in the mechanistic and efficient means of isolating viable cancer cells in blood. The microdevice has the potential to be used for routine monitoring of cancer development and cancer therapy in a clinical setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / blood*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Separation / instrumentation*
  • Cell Separation / methods*
  • Cell Survival
  • Humans
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / methods*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis