Microfluidic recapitulation of circulating tumor cell-neutrophil clustersviadouble spiral channel-induced deterministic encapsulation

Junhyun Park, Sunyoung Park, Kyung A. Hyun, Hyo Il Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Circulating tumor cell (CTC)-neutrophil clusters are highly potent precursors of cancer metastasis. However, their rarity in patients' blood has restricted research thus far, and moreover, studies onin vitromethods for mimicking cell clusters have generally neglectedin vivoconditions. Here, we introduce an inertial-force-assisted droplet microfluidic chip that allows the recapitulation of CTC-neutrophil clusters in terms of physical as well as biochemical features. The deterministic encapsulation of cellsviadouble spiral channels facilitates the pairing of neutrophils and cancer cells with ratios of interest (from 1 : 1 to 1 : 3). The encapsulated cells are spontaneously associated to form clusters, achieving the physical emulation of CTC-neutrophil clusters. Furthermore, the molecular signatures of CTC-neutrophil clusters (e.g., their E-cadherin, VCAM-1, and mRNA expressions) were well defined. Our novel microfluidic platform for exploring CTC-neutrophil clusters can therefore play a promising role in cancer-metastasis studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3483-3497
Number of pages15
JournalLab on a chip
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept 21

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIT) (No. 2020R1A5A1018052, 2021R1C1C2007646), the Korea Environment Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) through the Aquatic Ecosystem Conversion Research Program, funded by the Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE) (2020003030007), and the Technology Innovation Program (20008829) funded by the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE, Korea).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2021.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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