Circulating tumor cell (CTC) identification has applications in both early detection and monitoring of solid cancers. The rarity of CTCs, expected at ~1-50 CTCs per million nucleated blood cells (WBCs), requires identifying methods based on biomarkers with high sensitivity and specificity for accurate identification. Discovery of biomarkers with ever higher sensitivity and specificity to CTCs is always desirable to potentially find more CTCs in cancer patients thus increasing their clinical utility. Here, we investigate quantitative image cytometry measurements of lipids with the biomarker panel of DNA, Cytokeratin (CK), and CD45 commonly used to identify CTCs. We engineered a device for labeling suspended cell samples with fluorescent antibodies and dyes. We used it to prepare samples for 4 channel confocal laser scanning microscopy. The total data acquired at high resolution from one sample is ~ 1.3 GB. We developed software to perform the automated segmentation of these images into regions of interest (ROIs) containing individual cells. We quantified image features of total signal, spatial second moment, spatial frequency second moment, and their product for each ROI. We performed measurements on pure WBCs, cancer cell line MCF7 and mixed samples. Multivariable regressions and feature selection were used to determine combination features that are more sensitive and specific than any individual feature separately. We also demonstrate that computation of spatial characteristics provides higher sensitivity and specificity than intensity alone. Statistical models allowed quantification of the required sensitivity and specificity for detecting small levels of CTCs in a human blood sample.
Gregory L. Futia, Lubna Qamar, Kian Behbakht, and Emily A. Gibson, "Quantitative image cytometry measurements of lipids, DNA, CD45 and cytokeratin for circulating tumor cell identification in a model system," Proc. SPIE 9711, Imaging, Manipulation, and Analysis of Biomolecules, Cells, and Tissues IX, 97111U (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 17, 2016; Published: 6 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2222317.
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