A pipeline for copy number profiling of single circulating tumour cells to assess intrapatient tumour heterogeneity

Teoman Deger, Pauline A.J. Mendelaar, Jaco Kraan, Wendy J.C. Prager-van der Smissen, Michelle van der Vlugt-Daane, Eric M.J. Bindels, Anieta M. Sieuwerts, Stefan Sleijfer, Saskia M. Wilting, Antoinette Hollestelle, John W.M. Martens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
142 Downloads (Pure)


Intrapatient tumour heterogeneity is likely a major determinant of clinical outcome in cancer patients. To assess heterogeneity in a minimally invasive manner, methods to perform single circulating tumour cell (CTC) genomics at high resolution are necessary. However, due to the rarity of CTCs, development of such methods is challenging. Here, we developed a modular single CTC analysis pipeline to assess intrapatient heterogeneity by copy number (CN) profiling. To optimize this pipeline, spike-in experiments using MCF-7 breast cancer cells were performed. The VyCAP puncher system was used to isolate single cells. The quality of whole genome amplification (WGA) products generated by REPLI-g and Ampli1™ methods, as well as the results from the Illumina Truseq and the Ampli1™ LowPass library preparation techniques, was compared. Moreover, a bioinformatic pipeline was designed to generate CN profiles from single CTCs. The optimal combination of Ampli1™ WGA and Illumina Truseq library preparation was successfully validated on patient-derived CTCs. In conclusion, we developed a novel modular pipeline to isolate single CTCs and subsequently generate detailed patient-derived CN profiles that allow assessment of intrapatient heterogeneity in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2981-3000
Number of pages20
JournalMolecular Oncology
Issue number16
Early online date29 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Stanley van Herk, Paulette M.H. van Strien and Rui Neves for their technical support. We also thank Raimo Tanzi (Menarini) and his team for technical support as well as Lisa Oomens and Michiel Stevens (VyCAP) for providing WGA samples and technical support. We thank Mark van de Wiel for his support in implementing the R packages he developed. TD, this study and the VyCAP single‐cell puncher were funded by the Daniel den Hoed Foundation. AMS was supported by the Cancer Genomics Center, the Netherlands (CGC.nl).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Molecular Oncology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Federation of European Biochemical Societies.


Dive into the research topics of 'A pipeline for copy number profiling of single circulating tumour cells to assess intrapatient tumour heterogeneity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this