Method to Isolate Dormant Cancer Cells from Heterogeneous Populations

Julian A. Preciado, Alptekin Aksan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Cancer recurrence is responsible for a high percentage of cancer-related deaths. Primary tumor removal, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy often leave behind cancer cells that are clinically undetectable. Recent evidence has shown that subpopulations of these residual cancer cells enter into a prolonged dormant state, remaining quiescent for months to years, and eventually lead to metastases and relapse (Sosa et al. Nat Rev Cancer 14:611–622, 2014). Identifying the presence of and isolating these dormancy-capable cells (DCCs) from resected tumors or bodily fluids may therefore provide an opportunity to understand their biology and develop personalized treatments for patients at risk for relapse. Physical confinement in a stiff and porous 3D matrix, which inhibits proliferation, migration, and growth of the immobilized cells, has been shown to isolate DCC populations (Preciado et al. Technology 05:1–10, 2017; Reátegui et al. J Mater Chem B 2:7440–7448, 2014). Isolated DCCs can then be recovered from the gel and analyzed. Here we describe this immobilization method that can be used to isolate DCCs from heterogeneous cell populations that may also include dormancy-incapable cancer cells and host cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Cancer relapse
  • Cell immobilization
  • Dormant cell isolation
  • Physical confinement
  • Silica encapsulation
  • Single cell cancer dormancy

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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