Detection of Multiple Breast Cancer ESR1 Mutations on an ISFET Based Lab-on-Chip Platform

IEEE Trans Biomed Circuits Syst. 2021 Jun;15(3):380-389. doi: 10.1109/TBCAS.2021.3094464. Epub 2021 Aug 12.


ESR1 mutations are important biomarkers in metastatic breast cancer. Specifically, p.E380Q and p.Y537S mutations arise in response to hormonal therapies given to patients with hormone receptor positive (HR+) breast cancer (BC). This paper demonstrates the efficacy of an ISFET based CMOS integrated Lab-on-Chip (LoC) system, coupled with variant-specific isothermal amplification chemistries, for detection and discrimination of wild type (WT) from mutant (MT) copies of the ESR1 gene. Hormonal resistant cancers often lead to increased chances of metastatic disease which leads to high mortality rates, especially in low-income regions and areas with low healthcare coverage. Design and optimization of bespoke primers was carried out and tested on a qPCR instrument and then benchmarked versus the LoC platform. Assays for detection of p.Y537S and p.E380Q were developed and tested on the LoC platform, achieving amplification in under 25 minutes and sensitivity of down to 1000 copies of DNA per reaction for both target assays. The LoC system hereby presented, is cheaper and smaller than other standard industry equivalent technologies such as qPCR and sequencing. The LoC platform proposed, has the potential to be used at a breast cancer point-of-care testing setting, offering mutational tracking of circulating tumour DNA in liquid biopsies to assist patient stratification and metastatic monitoring.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mutation


  • Estrogen Receptor alpha