Microfluidic flow fractionation device for label-free isolation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from breast cancer patients

Kyung A. Hyun, Kiho Kwon, Hyunju Han, Seung Il Kim, Hyo Il Jung

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105 Citations (Scopus)


Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are dissociated from primary tumor and circulate in peripheral blood. They are regarded as the genesis of metastasis. Isolation and enumeration of CTCs serve as valuable tools for cancer prognosis and diagnosis. However, the rarity and heterogeneity of CTCs in blood makes it difficult to separate intact CTCs without loss. In this paper, we introduce a parallel multi-orifice flow fractionation (p-MOFF) device in which a series of contraction/expansion microchannels are placed parallel on a chip forming four identical channels. CTCs were continuously isolated from the whole blood of breast cancer patients by hydrodynamic forces and cell size differences. Blood samples from 24 breast cancer patients were analyzed (half were from metastatic breast cancer patients and the rest were from adjuvant breast cancer patients). The number of isolated CTCs varied from 0 to 21 in 7.5. ml of blood. Because our devices do not require any labeling processes (e.g., EpCAM antibody), heterogeneous CTCs can be isolated regardless of EpCAM expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-212
Number of pages7
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Feb 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by a grant from the National R&D Program for Cancer Control, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (grant no. 1120290 ), by a research program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) (grant no. 2011-0016731 ) and by the Small Medium Business Administration (grant no. SA113226 ).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


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