Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have emerged as promising tools for noninvasive cancer detection and prognosis. Most conventional approaches for capturing CTCs use an EpCAM-based enrichment strategy, which does not work well in cancers that show low or no expression of EpCAM, such as renal cell carcinoma (RCC). In this study, we developed a new set of cell surface markers including CA9 and CD147 as alternative CTC-capture antigens specifically designed for RCC patients. We showed that the expression of both CA9 and CD147 was prevalent in a RCC patient cohort (n=70) by immunohistochemical analysis, with both molecules in combination covering 97.1% of cases. The NanoVelcro platform combined with CA9-/CD147-capture antibodies demonstrated significantly higher efficiency for capturing both CTC-mimicking renal cancer cells and RCC CTCs in peripheral blood, compared to the conventional EpCAM-based method. Using immunofluorescence cytological validation at the single-cell level, we were able to identify bona fide CTCs in RCC patient blood following the well-accepted criteria in our CTC-capture system. We further demonstrated a significant association of CTC numbers as well as the CTC expression status of Vimentin, a mesenchymal marker, with disease progression, including pathologic features and clinical staging. These results provide new insights into developing novel, effective targets/approaches for capturing CTCs, making CTCs a valuable tool for improved cancer detection, prognosis and treatment in RCC.
View details for DOI 10.18632/oncotarget.10979
View details for Web of Science ID 000387153900087
View details for PubMedID 27494883