N VIVO FLOW CYTOMETRY REVEALS A CIRCADIAN RHYTHM OF CIRCULATING TUMOR CELLS
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) is an established biomarker of cancer metastasis. The circulation dynamics of CTCs are important for understanding the mechanisms underlying tumor cell dissemination. Although studies have revealed that the circadian rhythm may disrupt the growth of tumors, it is generally unclear whether the circadian rhythm controls the release of CTCs. In clinical examinations, the current in vitro methods for detecting CTCs in blood samples are based on a fundamental assumption that CTC counts in the peripheral blood do not change signifificantly over time, which is being challenged by recent studies. Since it is not practical to draw blood from patients repeatedly, a feasible strategy to investigate the circadian rhythm of CTCs is to monitor them by in vivo detection methods. Fluorescence in vivo flflow cytometry (IVFC) is a powerful optical technique that is able to detect flfluorescent circulating cells directly in living animals in a noninvasive manner over a long period of time. In this study, we applied fluorescence IVFC to monitor CTCs noninvasively in an orthotopic mouse model of human prostate cancer. We observed that CTCs exhibited stochastic bursts over cancer progression. The probability of the bursting activity was higher at early stages than at late stages. We longitudinally monitored CTCs over a 24-h period, and our results revealed striking daily oscillations in CTC counts that peaked at the onset of the night (active phase for rodents), suggesting that the release of CTCs might be regulated by the circadian rhythm.
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Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Peking University, Beijing