Detection and Characterization of Circulating Tumour Cells in Multiple Myeloma

Liangxuan Zhang, Sharon Beasley, Natalie L. Prigozhina, Renee Higgins, Shoji Ikeda, Florence Y. Lee, Dena Marrinucci and Shidong Jia. 


J Circ Biomark, 2016, 5:10. doi: 10.5772/64124


Multiple myeloma (MM) remains an incurable disease despite recent therapeutic improvements. The ability to detect and characterize MM circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in peripheral blood provides an alternative to replace or augment invasive bone marrow (BM) biopsies with a simple blood draw, providing real-time, clinically relevant information leading to improved disease management and therapy selection. Here we have developed and qualified an enrichment-free, cell-based immunofluorescence MM CTC assay that utilizes an automated digital pathology algorithm to distinguish MM CTCs from white blood cells (WBCs) on the basis of CD138 and CD45 expression levels, as well as a number of morphological parameters. These MM CTCs were further characterized for expression of phospho-ribosomal protein S6 (pS6) as a readout for PI3K/AKT pathway activation. Clinical feasibility of the assay was established by testing blood samples from a small cohort of patients, where we detected populations of both CD138pos and CD138neg MM CTCs. In this study, we developed an immunofluorescent cell-based assay to detect and characterize CTCs in MM