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Increasing evidence of intratumor heterogeneity and its augmentation due to selective pressure of microenvironment and recent achievements in cancer therapeutics lead to the need to investigate and track the tumor subclonal structure. Cell sorting of heterogeneous subpopulations of tumor and tumor-associated cells has been a long established strategy in cancer research. Advancement in lasers, computer technology and optics has led to a new generation of flow cytometers and cell sorters capable of high-speed processing of single cell suspensions. Over the last several years cell sorting was used in combination with molecular biological methods, imaging and proteomics to characterize primary and metastatic cancer cell populations, minimal residual disease and single tumor cells. It was the principal method for identification and characterization of cancer stem cells. Analysis of single cancer cells may improve early detection of tumors, monitoring of circulating tumor cells, evaluation of intratumor heterogeneity and chemotherapeutic treatments. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of major cell sorting applications and approaches with new prospective developments such as microfluidics and microchip technologies. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Natasha S Barteneva, Kenneth Ketman, Elizaveta Fasler-Kan, Daria Potashnikova, Ivan A Vorobjev. Cell sorting in cancer research--diminishing degree of cell heterogeneity. Biochimica et biophysica acta. 2013 Aug;1836(1):105-22

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PMID: 23481260

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