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28P - Validation of Cytokeratin (CK18) Protein Expression in Epithelial Cell lines and in Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs)


06 Oct 2021




Nirmal Raut


Annals of Oncology (2021) 32 (suppl_6): S1345-S1371. 10.1016/annonc/annonc740


N.V. Raut1, N. Kale2, A. D'souza2, Y. Patil2, P. Chakraborty2, K. Prabhash3, P. Chaturvedi3, J. Khandare2

Author affiliations

  • 1 Bhaktivedanta Hospital, Thane/IN
  • 2 Actorius Innovations and Research, 411057 - Pune/IN
  • 3 Tata Memorial Hospital, 400012 - Mumbai/IN

Abstract 28P


CTCs predicts an unfavourable prognosis and outcomes in cancers. Lowering of cytokeratin 18 expression is a hallmark of epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT). Homogeneity and validation of CK18 expression in cancer cell lines and CTCs originating from distinct solid tumors is indeterminate and may contribute to non-specific counts. We hypothesize that the expression of CK18 in varied cell lines may differ quantitatively, and additionally may exhibit similar trends in CTCs enumerated from different tumor types.


CK 18 variance in epithelial cell lines (e.g. A549 +, MCF-7 +, and MEF – (n=192269 cells) and CTCs (n=63) of different phenotypes was analyzed and compared. The fluorescence intensity was measured post immunostaining, using motorized-automated, computer-assisted scanning, and through a customized ImageJ-macro tool. The effect of anti-CK 18 concentrations (0.06-6 μg/ml) and binding constants (Kb) was measured across all cell lines. CTCs were enumerated from head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patient’s blood samples. (CTRI/2018/03/012905) and from clinical samples (e.g., breast, lung, colorectal (CRC), ovarian) using clinically relevant OncoDiscover platform.


CK18 mapping revealed diverse fluorescence intensities distribution in three cell lines, as well as in HNSCC, lung, breast, ovarian, and colorectal cancer CTCs (Table). In addition, the protein binding assay showed 8.65 x 10 3 K b (M -1) for MCF7 and 7.9 x 10 3 for A549 cells indicating concentration-dependent binding for CK 18 expressing proteins on cells and may be varied in CTCs of different cancer types. Compared to CK - cell line (MEF), the normalized CK18 intensity was higher by 290 % and 310 %, respectively, in MCF7 (breast) and A549 (lung) cells, demonstrating the variation in CK18 expression. On the other hand, CTCs showed significant diversity in CK 18 expression with buccal mucosa revealing the lowest (67%), while CTCs of CRC origin demonstrated the highest expression (320%) (Table). CK18 intensity representing across the cell lines and on CTCs enumerated from different cancer types. Table: 28P

Sr.No. Cell type/ Cancer subtype No. of cells Mean CK18 intensity Normalized intensity %change in CK18 intensity over MEF
1 MCF7 (Breast) 30498 12.49 4.1 310
2 A549 (Lung) 30410 11.85 3.9 290
3 MEF (Fibroblast) 2764 3.01 1.0 0
4 Breast 23 8.54 2.83 183
5 Lung 3 5.30 1.76 76
6 Tongue 15 5.60 1.87 86
7 Buccal 4 5.05 1.67 67
8 Colorectal 10 12.6 4.20 320
9 Ovarian 9 9.54 3.15 215


Non-regulated CTC enumeration platforms pre-requisite critical validations to eliminate the non-specificity of CTC counts, which are highly imperative to clinical decisions in cancer management.

Clinical trial identification


Legal entity responsible for the study

Actorius Innovations and Resesarch Pvt Ltd.


Actorius Innovations and Research Pvt. Ltd.


N. Kale, A. d'Souza, Y. Patil, P. Chakraborty, J. Khandare: Financial Interests, Institutional, Full or part-time Employment: Actorius Innovations and Research Pvt. Ltd. All other authors have declared no conflicts of interest.

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