Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) detected by CellSearch are prognostic in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but rarely found. CTCs can be extracted from the blood together with mononuclear cell populations by diagnostic leukapheresis (DLA), therefore concentrating them. However, CellSearch can only process limited DLA volumes (≈2 mL). Therefore, we established a protocol to enumerate CTCs in DLA products with Isolation by SizE of Tumor cells (ISET), and compared CTC counts between CellSearch® and ISET. DLA was performed in NSCLC patients who started a new therapy. With an adapted protocol, ISET could process 10 mL of DLA. CellSearch detected CTCs in a volume equaling 2 × 108 leukocytes (mean 2 mL). CTC counts per mL were compared. Furthermore, the live cell protocol of ISET was tested in eight patients. ISET successfully processed all DLA products—16 with the fixed cell protocol and 8 with the live cell protocol. In total, 10–20 mL of DLA was processed. ISET detected CTCs in 88% (14/16), compared to 69% (11/16, p < 0.05) with CellSearch. ISET also detected higher number of CTCs (ISET median CTC/mL = 4, interquartile range [IQR] = 2–6, CellSearch median CTC/mL = 0.9, IQR = 0–1.8, p < 0.01). Cells positive for the epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM+) per mL were detected in similar counts by both methods. Eight patients were processed with the live cell protocol. All had EpCAM+, CD45−, CD235- cells isolated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). Overall, ISET processed larger volumes and detected higher CTC counts compared to CellSearch. EpCAM+ CTCs were detected in comparable rates.
- Liquid biopsy