Ex vivo culture of circulating tumour cells derived from non-small cell lung cancer

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Kapeleris, J
Kulasinghe, A
Warkiani, ME
Oleary, C
Vela, I
Leo, P
Sternes, P
O'Byrne, K
Punyadeera, C
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Background: Tumour tissue-based information is limited. Liquid biopsy can provide valuable real-time information through circulating tumour cells (CTCs). Profiling and expanding CTCs may provide avenues to study transient metastatic disease. Methods: Seventy non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients were recruited. CTCs were enriched using the spiral microfluidic chip and a RosetteSep™ using bloods from NSCLC patients. CTC cultures were carried out using the Clevers media under hypoxic conditions. CTCs were characterized using immunofluorescence and mutation-specific antibodies for samples with known mutation profiles. Exome sequencing was used to characterized CTC cultures. Results: CTCs (>2 cells) were detected in 38/70 (54.3%) of patients ranging from 0 to 385 CTCs per 7.5 mL blood. In 4/5 patients where primary tumours harboured an EGFR exon 19 deletion, this EGFR mutation was also captured in CTCs. ALK translocation was confirmed on CTCs from a patient harbouring an ALK-rearrangement in the primary tumour. Short term CTC cultures were successfully generated in 9/70 NSCLC patients. Whole exome sequencing (WES) confirmed the presence of somatic mutations in the CTC cultures with mutational signatures consistent with NSCLC. Conclusions: We were able to detect CTCs in >50% of NSCLC patients. NSCLC patients with >2 CTCs had a poor prognosis. The short-term CTC culture success rate was 12.9%. Further optimization of this culture methodology may provide a means by which to expand CTCs derived from NSCLC patient's bloods. CTC cultures allow for expansion of cells to a critical mass, allowing for functional characterization of CTCs with the goal of drug sensitivity testing and the creation of CTC cell lines.

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Translational Lung Cancer Research
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© Translational Lung Cancer Research. All rights reserved. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, providing that the work is properly cited.
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Oncology and carcinogenesis
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Kapeleris, J; Kulasinghe, A; Warkiani, ME; Oleary, C; Vela, I; Leo, P; Sternes, P; O'Byrne, K; Punyadeera, C, Ex vivo culture of circulating tumour cells derived from non-small cell lung cancer, Translational Lung Cancer Research, 2020, 9 (5), pp. 1795-1809