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Examination of the dielectrophoretic spectra of MCF7 breast cancer cells and leukocytes

Çağlayan, Zeynep
Demircan Yalçın, Yağmur
Külah, Haluk
The detection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in blood is crucial to assess metastatic progression and to guide therapy. Dielectrophoresis (DEP) is a powerful cell surface marker-free method that allows intrinsic dielectric properties of suspended cells to be exploited for CTC enrichment/isolation from blood. Design of a successful DEP-based CTC enrichment/isolation system requires that the DEP response of the targeted particles should accurately be known. This paper presents a DEP spectrum method to investigate the DEP spectra of cells without directly analyzing their membrane and cytoplasmic properties in contrast to the methods in literature, which employ theoretical assumptions and complex modeling. Integrating electric field simulations based on DEP theory with the experimental data enables determination of the DEP spectra of leukocyte subpopulations, polymorphonuclear and mononuclear leukocytes, and MCF7 breast cancer cells as a model of CTC due to their metastatic origin over the frequency range 100 kHz-50 MHz at 10 V-pp. In agreement with earlier findings, differential DEP responses were detected for mononuclear and polymorphonuclear leukocytes due to the richness of the cell surface features and morphologies of the different leukocyte types. The data reveal that the strength of the DEP force exerted on MCF7 cells was particularly high between 850 kHz and 20 MHz. These results illustrate that the proposed technique has the potential to provide a generic platform to identify DEP responses of different biological particles.