Continuous enrichment of circulating tumor cells using a microfluidic lateral flow filtration chip

Sung Woo Lee, Kyung A. Hyun, Seung Il Kim, Ji Yoon Kang, Hyo Il Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The isolation and characterization of circulating tumor cells (CTC) is of great importance in cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Highly sensitive detection of CTCs can be very difficult because they are extremely rare (i.e., 1-5 CTCs per 109 erythrocytes) in blood. Recently, various devices have been developed that exploit biochemical (affinity-based) and physical (size or density) methods. Antibody-based isolation has its own limitations, as the expression level of the epitopes for an antibody varies due to the heterogeneity of cancer cells. Harsh conditions associated with physical methods can cause the deformation and damage of CTCs during the isolation process. Here, we propose a microfluidic lateral flow filtration (μ-LaFF) chip in which lateral flow was combined with vertical flow into the filter to capture the CTCs gently. The CTCs experienced weak shear flow owing to the lateral flow and traveled alongside the filter channel until finally being captured. The vertical flow in the filter held the captured cells tightly and served as an exit for uncaptured hematological cells (white and red blood cells). From our μ-LaFF chip we obtained a high capture efficiency (95%) and purity (99%), minimizing any damage to the CTCs. Our μ-LaFF technology is expected to be useful in the diagnosis and prognosis of various cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-105
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 16

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by a grant from the Fusion Technology Development Program (S2174432) through the Small and Medium Business Administration (SMBA, Korea) and a center for BioNano Health-Guard funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning of Korea as a Global Frontier Project (H-GUARD_2013M3A6B2078959).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier B.V.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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