Covalent Chemistry-Mediated Multimarker Purification of Circulating Tumor Cells Enables Noninvasive Detection of Molecular Signatures of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Adv Mater Technol. 2021 May;6(5):2001056. doi: 10.1002/admt.202001056. Epub 2021 Apr 9.


Transcriptomic profiling of tumor tissues introduces a large database, which has led to improvements in the ability of cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. However, performing tumor transcriptomic profiling in the clinical setting is very challenging since the procurement of tumor tissues is inherently limited by invasive sampling procedures. Here, we demonstrated the feasibility of purifying hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from clinical patient samples with improved molecular integrity using Click Chips in conjunction with a multimarker antibody cocktail. The purified CTCs were then subjected to mRNA profiling by NanoString nCounter platform, targeting 64 HCC-specific genes, which were generated from an integrated data analysis framework with 8 tissue-based prognostic gene signatures from 7 publicly available HCC transcriptomic studies. After bioinformatics analysis and comparison, the HCC CTC-derived gene signatures showed high concordance with HCC tissue-derived gene signatures from TCGA database, suggesting that HCC CTCs purified by Click Chips could enable the translation of HCC tissue molecular profiling into a noninvasive setting.

Keywords: circulating tumor cells; click chemistry; hepatocellular carcinoma; nanosubstrate; transcriptome profiling.