Development of a method to isolate circulating tumor cells using mesenchymal-based capture
ABSTRACT Epithelial tumor cells can become mesenchymal cells and vice versa via phenotypic transitions, a process known as epithelial plasticity. We postulate that during the process of metastasis, circulating tumor cells (CTCs) lose their epithelial phenotype and acquire a mesenchymal phenotype that may not be sufficiently captured by existing epithelial-based CTC technologies. We report here on the development of a novel CTC capture method, based on the biology of epithelial plasticity, which isolates cells based on OB-cadherin cell surface expression. Using this mesenchymal-based assay, OB-cadherin cellular events are detectable in men with metastatic prostate cancer and are less common in healthy volunteers. This method may complement existing epithelial-based methods and may be particularly usefulin patients with bone metastases.
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ABSTRACT: Background Many current therapies for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) are aimed at AR signaling; however, resistance to these therapies is inevitable. To personalize CRPC therapy in an individual with clinical progression despite maximal AR signaling blockade, it is important to characterize the status of AR activity within their cancer. Biopsies of bone metastases are invasive and frequently fail to yield sufficient tissue for further study. Evaluation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) offers an alternative, minimally invasive mechanism to characterize and study late-stage disease. The goal of this study was to evaluate the utility of CTC interrogation with respect to the AR as a potential novel therapeutic biomarker in patients with mCRPC.Methods Fifteen mL of whole blood was collected from patients with progressive, metastatic mCRPC, the mononuclear cell portion was isolated, and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) was used to isolate and evaluate CTCs. A novel protocol was optimized to use ImageStreamX to quantitatively analyze AR expression and subcellular localization within CTCs. Co-expression of AR and the proliferation marker Ki67 was also determined using ImageStreamX.ResultsWe found inter-patient and intra-patient heterogeneity in expression and localization of AR. Increased AR expression and nuclear localization are associated with elevated co-expression of Ki-67, consistent with the continued role for AR in castration-resistant disease. Despite intra-patient heterogeneity, CTCs from patients with prior exposure to abiraterone had increased AR expression compared to CTCs from patients who were abiraterone-naïve.Conclusions As our toolbox for targeting AR function expands, our ability to evaluate AR expression and function within tumor samples from patients with late-stage disease will likely be a critical component of the personalized management of advanced prostate cancer. AR expression and nuclear localization varies within patients and between patients; however it remains associated with markers of proliferation. This supports a molecularly diverse AR-centric pathobiology imparting castration-resistance.Journal of Translational Medicine 11/2014; 12(1):313. DOI:10.1186/s12967-014-0313-z · 3.99 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background:Abiraterone and enzalutamide are novel endocrine treatments that abrogate androgen receptor (AR) signalling in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Here, we developed a circulating tumour cells (CTCs)-based assay to evaluate AR expression in real-time in CRPC and investigated nuclear AR expression in CTCs in patients treated with enzalutamide and abiraterone.Methods:CTCs were captured and characterised using the CellSearch system. An automated algorithm to identify CTCs and quantify AR expression was employed. The primary aim was to evaluate the association between CTC AR expression and prior treatment with abiraterone or enzalutamide.Results:AR expression in CTCs was evaluated in 94 samples from 48 metastatic CRPC patients. We observed large intra-patient heterogeneity of AR expression in CTCs. Prior exposure to abiraterone or enzalutamide was not associated with a change in CTCs AR expression (median intensity and distribution of AR-positive classes). In support of this, we also confirmed maintained nuclear AR expression in tissue samples collected after progression on abiraterone. AR staining also identified additional AR-positive CD45-negative circulating cells that were CK-negative/weak and therefore missed using standard protocols. The number of these events correlated with traditional CTCs and was associated with worse outcome on univariate analysis.Conclusions:We developed a non-invasive method to monitor AR nuclear expression in CTCs. Our studies confirm nuclear AR expression in CRPC patients progressing on novel endocrine treatments. Owing to the significant heterogeneity of AR expression in CTCs, studies in larger cohorts of patients are required to identify associations with outcome.British Journal of Cancer advance online publication, 26 February 2015; doi:10.1038/bjc.2015.63 www.bjcancer.com.
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ABSTRACT: Purpose: This study aimed to detect cell-surface vimentin (CSV) on the surface of epithelial-mesenchymal transitioned (EMT) circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from blood of patients with epithelial cancers. Experimental Design: In this study, 101 patients undergoing post-surgery adjuvant chemotherapy for metastatic colon cancer were recruited. EMT CTCs were detected from blood of patients using 84-1 monoclonal antibody against CSV as a marker. EMT CTCs isolated were characterized further using EMT-specific markers, fluorescent in situ hybridization and single cell mutation analysis. Results: Using 84-1 antibody, we detected CSV exclusively on EMT CTCs from a variety of tumor types but not in the surrounding normal cells in the blood. The antibody exhibited very high specificity and sensitivity towards different epithelial cancer cells. With this antibody, we detected and enumerated EMT CTCs from patients. From our observations, we defined a cutoff of < five or ≥ five EMT CTCs as optimal threshold with respect to therapeutic response using ROC curves. Using this defined threshold, the presence of ≥ five EMT CTCs was associated with progressive disease, while patients with less than five EMT CTCs showed therapeutic response. Conclusion: Taken together, number of EMT CTCs detected correlated with the therapeutic outcome of the disease. These results establish cell-surface vimentin as a universal marker for EMT CTCs from a wide variety of tumor types and thus provide the foundation for emerging CTC detection technologies and for studying the molecular regulation of these EMT CTCs. Copyright © 2014, American Association for Cancer Research.Clinical Cancer Research 12/2014; 21(4). DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-0894 · 8.19 Impact Factor