Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) can be enumerated using CellSearch, but not all breast cancer subtypes, specifically those with epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) characteristics, sufficiently express the enrichment (EpCAM) and selection (CK8/18/19) markers used in this method. While CD146 can detect EpCAM-negative CTCs, we here evaluated the value of various cytokeratins and CD49f to detect CK8/18/19-negative CTCs. The tested cytokeratins provided no substantial benefit, but adding CD49f to CK8/18/19 as a selection marker resulted in improved recovery of normal-like cell lines.Combined staining of CK8/18/19 and CD49f after CD146/EpCAM enrichment is likely to further improve CTC detection in breast cancer.

Breast cancer, CD49f, CellSearch, Circulating tumor cells, Cytokeratin,
Cancer Letters
Department of Medical Oncology

Mostert, B, Kraan, J, Sieuwerts, A.M, van der Spoel, P, Bolt-de Vries, J, Prager-van der Smissen, W.J.C, … Sleijfer, S. (2012). CD49f-based selection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) improves detection across breast cancer subtypes. Cancer Letters, 319(1), 49–55. doi:10.1016/j.canlet.2011.12.031