Heterogeneity of miR-10b expression in circulating tumor cells

Sci Rep. 2015 Nov 2;5:15980. doi: 10.1038/srep15980.


Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the blood of cancer patients are recognized as important potential targets for future anticancer therapies. As mediators of metastatic spread, CTCs are also promising to be used as 'liquid biopsy' to aid clinical decision-making. Recent work has revealed potentially important genotypic and phenotypic heterogeneity within CTC populations, even within the same patient. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are key regulators of gene expression and have emerged as potentially important diagnostic markers and targets for anti-cancer therapy. Here, we describe a robust in situ hybridization (ISH) protocol, incorporating the CellSearch(®) CTC detection system, enabling clinical investigation of important miRNAs, such as miR-10b on a cell by cell basis. We also use this method to demonstrate heterogeneity of such as miR-10b on a cell-by-cell basis. We also use this method to demonstrate heterogeneity of miR-10b in individual CTCs from breast, prostate and colorectal cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / blood
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • HCT116 Cells
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MIRN10 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs