Clinical and Experimental Medicine

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 191–202 | Cite as

Clinical significance of circulating tumor cells from lung cancer patients using microfluidic chip

  • Chen Qian
  • Shan Wu
  • Hongmei Chen
  • Xiaofen Zhang
  • Rongrong Jing
  • Lei Shen
  • Xudong Wang
  • Shaoqing Ju
  • Chunping Jia
  • Hui Cong
Original Article


Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) exist in the peripheral blood and have an important role in the disease development, tumor metastasis and clinical surveillance, especially in the process of metastasis. However, the technology of detecting CTCs still had a large challenge since they were rare in the peripheral blood. Here, we developed a size-based microfluidic chip, which contained array and filter channel array that could enrich CTCs from blood samples more quickly and conveniently. Combined with clinical specimen, we analyzed CTCs in 200 lung cancer patients by this microfluidic chip. The microfluidic device has high specificity and sensitivity in detecting CTCs (86.0% sensitivity and 98% specificity). Furthermore, the number of CTCs showed a increasing trend according to the stage of the disease (the mean number of I stage 5.0 ± 5.121 versus II stage 8.731 ± 6.36 versus III stage 16.81 ± 9.556 versus IV stage 28.72 ± 17.39 cells/mL, P < 0.05). The number of CTCs was concurrent with the condition of pathological type and metastasis patients. Compared to conventional markers like CEA, CY211, SCC, CTCs showed a higher positive rate in diagnosed patients. The advanced microfluidic device could capture tumor cells without reliance on cell surface expression markers and provide a fast, convenient, economical method in detecting CTCs, thereby offering potential to design effective and individualized cancer therapies.


Circulating tumor cells Lung cancer Marker Size-based microfluidic chip CEA 



This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program No. 2012CB933303), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Program Nos. 81472751, 61271162, 61401442 and 61571428), the Shanghai Pujiang Program (No. 15PJ1409800), The Jiangsu Provincial Funds for Six Categories of Top Talents (Program No.WS-066), The Research project of Jiangsu provincial health and Family Planning Commission (Program No. H201526). The Technology Project of Nantong (No.MS12017008-1).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We have declared that no competing interests exist. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the paper.

Ethical approval

The study complies with the Declaration of Helsinki and was approved by the Ethics Committee of Affiliated Hospital of Nantong University, and all patients gave written informed consent.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from each patient involved in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center of Laboratory MedicineAffiliated Hospital of Nantong UniversityNantongChina
  2. 2.Vip WardAffiliated Hospital of Nantong UniversityNantongChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Transducer TechnologyShanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology, Chinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina

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