Comparative analysis of capture methods for genomic profiling of circulating tumor cells in colorectal cancer

Genomics. 2022 Nov;114(6):110500. doi: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2022.110500. Epub 2022 Oct 4.


The genomic profiling of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the bloodstream should provide clinically relevant information on therapeutic efficacy and help predict cancer survival. Here, we contrasted the genomic profiles of CTC pools recovered from metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients using different enrichment strategies (CellSearch, Parsortix, and FACS). Mutations inferred in the CTC pools differed depending on the enrichment strategy and, in all cases, represented a subset of the mutations detected in the matched primary tumor samples. However, the CTC pools from Parsortix, and in part, CellSearch, showed diversity estimates, mutational signatures, and drug-suitability scores remarkably close to those found in matching primary tumor samples. In addition, FACS CTC pools were enriched in apparent sequencing artifacts, leading to much higher genomic diversity estimates. Our results highlight the utility of CTCs to assess the genomic heterogeneity of individual tumors and help clinicians prioritize drugs in mCRC.

Keywords: Circulating tumor cells; Colorectal cancer; Intratumor genomic heterogeneity; Liquid biopsy; Precision medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating*