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Cancers 2013, 5(4), 1739-1747; doi:10.3390/cancers5041739

The Clinical Potential of Circulating Tumor Cells; The Need to Incorporate a Modern “Immunological Cocktail” in the Assay

Cancer Immunobiology Center, University Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA
Received: 11 September 2013 / Revised: 12 October 2013 / Accepted: 5 November 2013 / Published: 13 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circulating Tumor Cells in Cancers)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [310 KB, uploaded 13 December 2013]


The accepted clinical assay, CellSearch®, and lab-on-a-chip tests for capturing circulating tumor cells are antibody-mediated. Attempts to improve their sensitivity have relied upon physical changes in the instruments. There have been no significant advances in improving the antibody-mediated portion of the capture. Modern immunologic engineering offers major possibilities for improving the sensitivity and other features of the assay. These include obtaining univalent antibody fragments such as scFvs with picomolar binding affinity and sufficient specificity; altering them to enhance their range of potential contact with target antigens; using antibodies directed against different epitopes on epithelial, mesenchymal or organ-specific cell surface markers to allow simultaneous binding and investigating non-antibody binding molecules as substitutes for antibody. These maneuvers could markedly improve the ability of current assays to improve patient care and might result in an acceptable test for detecting cancer earlier in high risk patients.
Keywords: CTCs; picomolar affinity; scFv; EpCAM; early diagnosis CTCs; picomolar affinity; scFv; EpCAM; early diagnosis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Uhr, J.W. The Clinical Potential of Circulating Tumor Cells; The Need to Incorporate a Modern “Immunological Cocktail” in the Assay. Cancers 2013, 5, 1739-1747.

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