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Flow cytometric analysis of tumor cells in carcinomas is hampered by the presence of a variety of different cells in the tumor tissue and the surrounding stroma. To obtain single competent tumor cells, we have established a model system which can be applied to separate living cells from fresh ovarian carcinoma tissue. Due to the lack of tumor-cell surface specific antibodies, we isolated tumor cells by a procedure called 'negative tumor cell selection'. For this purpose, fresh ovarian carcinoma tissue, immediately after surgery, was subjected to mechanical disintegration using an automated mincing device to obtain a single-cell suspension (approximately 10(7) cells/g). Collagenase D (0.005%) was added to prevent further aggregation. Cells other than tumor cells were then labeled with a set of monoclonal antibodies directed to cell surface antigens: CD3 (T-cells), CD14 (monocytes), CD15 (granulocytes), CD45R (T-/B-cells) and 5B5 (fibroblasts). Anti-isotype antibodies coupled to ferrit microbeads were then reacted with the cell suspension and those cells reacting with the microbeads retained on a steel wool matrix in a magnetic field (1). Tumor cells not reacting with the microbeads were recovered by a simple wash of the steel wool matrix. All incubation steps were at 4 degrees C. This procedure, which takes about 2 hours, enables fast and simple isolation of single, living competent tumor cells from fresh tumor tissue and also from ascitic or pleuritic effusions. In a model system with cultured ovarian carcinoma cells and human leukocytes, tumor cell purity was about 93% and about 97% when re-subjected to the same procedure (respective recovery rates 75% and 50%). The still unlabeled tumor cells can subsequently be analyzed by flow cytometry or by central laser scanning microscopy for the presence of various surface antigens including receptors for proteases or growth factors. Moreover, after detergent treatment and fixation, flow cytometric multiparameter analysis such as simultaneous labeling of intracellular and surface antigens as well as nuclear DNA staining for ploidy and S-phase determination becomes possible.
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Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 1995

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  • The International Journal of Oncology provides an international forum for the publication of the latest, cutting-edge research in the broad area of oncology and cancer treatment. The journal accepts original high quality works and reviews on all aspects of oncology research including carcinogenesis, metastasis, epidemiology, chemotherapy and viral oncology. Through fair and efficient peer review, the journal is dedicated to publishing top tier research in the field, offering authors rapid publication as well as high standards of copy-editing and production. The International Journal of Oncology is published on a monthly basis in both print and early online.
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