Recent advances in nanotechnology-based detection and separation of circulating tumor cells

Ja Hye Myung, Kevin A. Tam, Sin jung Park, Ashley Cha, Seungpyo Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Although circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in blood have been widely investigated as a potential biomarker for diagnosis and prognosis of metastatic cancer, their inherent rarity and heterogeneity bring tremendous challenges to develop a CTC detection method with clinically significant specificity and sensitivity. With advances in nanotechnology, a series of new methods that are highly promising have emerged to enable or enhance detection and separation of CTCs from blood. In this review, we systematically categorize nanomaterials, such as gold nanoparticles, magnetic nanoparticles, quantum dots, graphenes/graphene oxides, and dendrimers and stimuli-responsive polymers, used in the newly developed CTC detection methods. This will provide a comprehensive overview of recent advances in the CTC detection achieved through application of nanotechnology as well as the challenges that these existing technologies must overcome to be directly impactful on human health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-239
Number of pages17
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partially supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) under grant number DMR1409161, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant number R01CA182528, and the Technological Innovation R&D Program (grant number S2083505) funded by the Small and Medium Business Administration of Korea.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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