Introduction: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are important actors in metastasis, a key feature of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). The ability to isolate, characterize and culture viable CTCs holds promise for understanding biology, treatment response and resistance.

Methods: Peripheral blood samples from healthy donors and patients with advanced PDAC were processed using an innovative size filtration system (Viatar LLC, Lowell MA). Normal human blood samples were spiked with varying numbers of human PDAC organoid cells. The impact of buffy coat separation was studied. Isolated CTCs were cultured in Matrigel to generate organoids as previously described. Cells were imaged with fluorescently labeled antibody to EpCAM.

Data: Using spiked normal human blood samples, viable CTCs can be isolated and expanded reliably in 3D organoid culture from as few as 10 CTCs/mL. Separation and processing of the buffy coat enriched for the number of viable CTCs isolated. EpCAM positive CTCs were isolated from 6/6 blood samples from patients with advanced PDAC. Updated results will be presented.

Conclusions: The current size-based filtration system allows for collection of viable CTCs from human PDAC blood samples. Current work will use this system to grow, expand and characterize human PDAC CTCs in organoid culture. Genetic, transcriptional, and epigenetic characteristics will be compared with the primary tumor. CTC characteristics will be studied as biomarker of treatment response and resistance.

Citation Format: Kenneth H. Yu, Benjamin D. Krempley, Brian McCarthy. Isolation and characterization of viable pancreatic cancer circulating tumor cells using size-based filtration system [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2017; 2017 Apr 1-5; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2017;77(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 3919. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2017-3919