Detection of occult tumor cells with fiber array scanning technology (FAST) at ultra-high scan rates
While the presence of occult tumor cells in the peripheral blood (PB) and bone marrow (BM) of carcinoma patients is well documented, the prognostic significance has not been realized due the difficulties of the measurements and lack of standardization of the assay methods. The basic challenge to any rare cell assay is accurate measurement of rare cells in very low concentrations reported to be in the in the 10-6 to 10-7 range for PB. We present a new imaging technique that enables the ultra-high speed scanning of immuno-fluorescenctly labeled PB or BM samples deposited on conventional microscope slides. The scanning rate of the system is 400,000 cells per second. The underlying technology is enabled by a custom formed fiber optic bundle that effectively increases the field of view (5 cm). This large field of view is suitable for high speed laser scanning of the cells with minimal mechanical motion. The system has been tested on isolated PB leukocyte preparations spiked with carcinoma cell-lines (HT-29, HCT-116, SKBR-3, MCF-7). While sensitivity and selectivity are still under determination, they appear at present to be comparable or better than automated microscopy. The accuracy and efficiency of this approach should enable the reproducible analysis of a much larger number of cells in a reasonable time. Thus it will help to determine the true prognostic significance of occult tumor cell detection.
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Bruce, R. H. ; Curry, D. N. ; Hsieh, H. B. ; Krivacic, B. Detection of occult tumor cells with fiber array scanning technology (FAST) at ultra-high scan rates. 3rd International NCI-EORTC Meeting on Cancer Molecular Markers; 2004 April 18-20; Brussels; Belgium. Abstract appears in International Journal of Biological Markers; 2004; 19 (S3):S15.
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