Size-based isolation and detection of renal carcinoma cells from whole blood

Roger De Alwis, Jennifer Hansson, David Lindgren, Sarah Schoch, Alexander Tejera, Bianca Scholtz, Peter Elfving, Christina Möller, Helén Nilsson, Martin Johansson, Håkan Axelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is a tumour type with an indolent growth pattern and rather vague symptoms. The present study developed a platform for liquid biopsy of RCC based upon the isolation of circulating tumour cells (CTCs). Founded on the observation that RCC tumour cells are considerably larger than leucocytes, the present study employed a microfluidics-based system for isolation of RCC CTCs from whole blood. Using this system, it was revealed that 66% of spiked-in RCC tumour cells could be retrieved using this approach. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that these cells could be molecularly detected with digital PCR using RCC-specific genes down to one tumour cell, whilst avoiding detection in samples lacking tumour cells. Finally, subtype specific transcripts were identified to distinguish the different subtypes of RCC, which were then validated in patient tumours. The present study established a novel workflow for the isolation of RCC CTCs from whole blood, with the potential to detect these cells irrespective of subtype.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and clinical oncology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar 21

Bibliographical note

Copyright: © Alwis et al.

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cancer and Oncology

Free keywords

  • circulating tumour cells
  • kidney cancer
  • liquid biopsy
  • molecular diagnostics


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