Diagnostic utility of unbiased circulating tumour cell capture through negative depletion of peripheral blood cells

Dasha V. Freydina, Dimple Chudasama, Maxim B. Freidin, Maria Leung, Alexandra Rice, Angeles Montero Fernandez, Andrew G. Nicholson, Eric Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Cytological analysis of peripheral blood circulating tumour cells (CTCs) is a potential method of confirmatory clinical diagnosis of cancer. However, cell capture methods tend to be biased and captured cells are not usually portable resulting in difficulties in pathology reporting. We evaluated unbiased cell capture through depletion of unwanted normal cells and conventional clinical analyses of captured cells. Methods: Blood was sampled from 29 patients who underwent surgery for suspected lung cancer. It was processed using two different depletion cocktails. After depletion of unwanted cells, the resultant cell pellet was processed onto glass slides or embedded into FFPE blocks and stained using standard haematoxylin and eosin staining followed by cytopathologic assessment. Two pathologists performed the assessment independently. Results: The CTCs were identified in 38-45% of cases using CD45 depletion cocktail with the cell pellet processed on a glass slide, while other combinations of methods produced poorer results. Overall, there was a good concordance between the pathologists (up to 91.3%). The sensitivity of cancer diagnosis was 42% (95% CI 23-63%), while the specificity was 100% (95% CI 29-100%). Conclusion: Negative depletion can be used to isolate CTCs in standard clinical settings; however, more effective ways of detection are required to increase the sensitivity of the diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-364
Number of pages5
JournalOncology (Switzerland)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.


  • Cancer diagnosis
  • Circulating tumour cells
  • Negative depletion


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