Integrated Analysis of Multiple Biomarkers from Circulating Tumor Cells Enabled by Exclusion-Based Analyte Isolation

Jamie M. Sperger, Lindsay N. Strotman, Allison Welsh, Benjamin P. Casavant, Zachery Chalmers, Sacha Horn, Erika Heninger, Stephanie M. Thiede, Jacob Tokar, Benjamin K. Gibbs, David J. Guckenberger, Lakeesha Carmichael, Scott M. Dehm, Philip J. Stephens, David J. Beebe, Scott M. Berry, Joshua M. Lang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: There is a critical clinical need for new predictive and pharmacodynamic biomarkers that evaluate pathway activity in patients treated with targeted therapies. A microscale platform known as VERSA (versatile exclusion-based rare sample analysis) was developed to integrate readouts across protein, mRNA, and DNA in circulating tumor cells (CTC) for a comprehensive analysis of the androgen receptor (AR) signaling pathway. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Utilizing exclusion-based sample preparation principles, a handheld chip was developed to perform CTC capture, enumeration, quantification, and subcellular localization of proteins and extraction of mRNA and DNA. This technology was validated across integrated endpoints in cell lines and a cohort of patients with castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) treated with AR-targeted therapies and chemotherapies. RESULTS: The VERSA was validated in cell lines to analyze AR protein expression, nuclear localization, and gene expression targets. When applied to a cohort of patients, radiographic progression was predicted by the presence of multiple AR splice variants and activity in the canonical AR signaling pathway. AR protein expression and nuclear localization identified phenotypic heterogeneity. Next-generation sequencing with the FoundationOne panel detected copy number changes and point mutations. Longitudinal analysis of CTCs identified acquisition of multiple AR variants during targeted treatments and chemotherapy. CONCLUSIONS: Complex mechanisms of resistance to AR-targeted therapies, across RNA, DNA, and protein endpoints, exist in patients with CRPC and can be quantified in CTCs. Interrogation of the AR signaling pathway revealed distinct patterns relevant to tumor progression and can serve as pharmacodynamic biomarkers for targeted therapies. Clin Cancer Res; 1-11.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)746-756
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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