Kvastad L, Werne Solnestam B, Johansson E, Nygren AO, Laddach N, Sahlén P, Vickovic S, Bendigtsen SC, Aaserud M, Floer L, Borgen E, Schwind C, Himmelreich R, Latta D, Lundeberg J
Sci Rep 5 (-) 16519 [2015-11-12; online 2015-11-12]
Single cell analysis techniques have great potential in the cancer genomics field. The detection and characterization of circulating tumour cells are important for identifying metastatic disease at an early stage and monitoring it. This protocol is based on transcript profiling using Reverse Transcriptase Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification (RT-MLPA), which is a specific method for simultaneous detection of multiple mRNA transcripts. Because of the small amount of (circulating) tumour cells, a pre-amplification reaction is performed after reverse transcription to generate a sufficient number of target molecules for the MLPA reaction. We designed a highly sensitive method for detecting and quantifying a panel of seven genes whose expression patterns are associated with breast cancer, and optimized the method for single cell analysis. For detection we used a fluorescence-dependent semi-quantitative method involving hybridization of unique barcodes to an array. We evaluated the method using three human breast cancer cell lines and identified specific gene expression profiles for each line. Furthermore, we applied the method to single cells and confirmed the heterogeneity of a cell population. Successful gene detection from cancer cells in human blood from metastatic breast cancer patients supports the use of RT-MLPA as a diagnostic tool for cancer genomics.