CD49f-based selection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) improves detection across breast cancer subtypes

Cancer Lett. 2012 Jun 1;319(1):49-55. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2011.12.031. Epub 2011 Dec 24.


Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) can be enumerated using CellSearch, but not all breast cancer subtypes, specifically those with epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) characteristics, sufficiently express the enrichment (EpCAM) and selection (CK8/18/19) markers used in this method. While CD146 can detect EpCAM-negative CTCs, we here evaluated the value of various cytokeratins and CD49f to detect CK8/18/19-negative CTCs. The tested cytokeratins provided no substantial benefit, but adding CD49f to CK8/18/19 as a selection marker resulted in improved recovery of normal-like cell lines. Combined staining of CK8/18/19 and CD49f after CD146/EpCAM enrichment is likely to further improve CTC detection in breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Integrin alpha6 / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating / metabolism*
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating / pathology


  • Integrin alpha6
  • Neoplasm Proteins