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Table 2 A comparison of all the currently available CTC methods using whole blood, where each method is compared with the other methods. From a clinical perspective, we found the data describing the clinical detection to be the most important. This table shows size-based separation, density-based separation, and combined separation methods

From: Technologies for circulating tumor cell separation from whole blood

Separation category subcategory Technology Company Selection criteria Key features Capture efficiency Purity Recovery Viability Sample volume Throughput Clinical detection
Size-based separation         Viable    
Membrane microfilters FMSA [32, 65,66,67]   8-μm pores Extraction with reverse flow; easy modification for application; 1-in. WC pressure 90% 74% 90% Viable 7.5 ml 45 ml/h 76% (16/21)
Crescent-shaped trap [68, 69]   Two 5-μm gaps Simple operation; transparent membrane; real time changes to the flow characteristics; 5–15-kPa pressure 80% 83% 95–96% N/A 2 ml 0.7 ml/h 100% (5/5)
SB [33]   8-μm holes on bottom, 40-μm holes on top Capture is achieved by a gap between the top and bottom porous membranes; reduction in mechanical stress 78–83%    71–74% 1–7.5 ml   
FAST [34] Clinomics 8-μm pores + stably-held liquid Simple use; ultrafast cell enrichment; transparent membrane; 1-kPa pressure 96% > 2.5 log depletion 96% Viable 3 ml 180 ml/h (3 ml/min) 83.3% (15/18)a
Microfluidic sorting Parsortix [70, 71] Angle 10–4.5-μm gap size Easy operation; multiple use; 99-mbar pressure 42–70%   54–69% 99% 4 ml 10 ml/h 38.5% (10/26)
MCA [72, 73]   8-μm circular cavities; or 5–9 × 30-μm or 8 × 100-μm rectangular cavities Integrated enumeration, staining, and washing 80–97%   70–96% 98% 1–3 ml 12 ml/h 80% (40/50)
Density-based separation OncoQuick [74] Greiner Bio-One Density Elimination of lymphocytes and mononuclear cells; separation media for additional separation    87% N/A    23% (14/61)
AccuCyte [75] RareCyte Density Sequential density fractionation; automated    90% N/A    81% (22/27)
Combined methods CTC-iChip [76]   EpCAM/CD45 + size Two operation modes; long setup time; can be automated; 140-kPa pressure 77–98% Positive, > 3.5 log depletion; negative, > 2.5 log depletion 99.50%   10 ml 8 ml/h Positive mode, 90% (37/41)
Negative-negative microfluidic platform [77]   CD45 + size Negative immunomagnetic enrichment and negative selective microfluidic chip without sample transfer   90% 90%   2 ml 2 ml/h 100% (15/15)
  1. aNonmetastatic patients