Ovarian cancer detection using photoacoustic flow cytometry

Joel F. Lusk, Christopher Miranda, Barbara S. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Many studies suggest that the enumeration of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) may show promise as a prognostic tool for ovarian cancer. Current strategies for the detection of CTCs include flow cytometry, microfluidic devices, and real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Despite recent advances, methods for the detection of early ovarian cancer metastasis still lack the sensitivity and specificity required for clinical translation. Here, a novel method is presented for the detection of ovarian circulating tumor cells by photoacoustic flow cytometry (PAFC) utilizing a custom three dimensional (3D) printed system, including a flow chamber and syringe pump. This method utilizes folic acid-capped copper sulfide nanoparticles (FA-CuS NPs) to target SKOV-3 ovarian cancer cells by PAFC. This work demonstrates the affinity of these contrast agents for ovarian cancer cells. The results show NP characterization, PAFC detection, and NP uptake by fluorescence microscopy, thus demonstrating the potential of this novel system to detect ovarian CTCs at physiologically relevant concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere60279
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number155
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Bioengineering
  • Copper sulfide nanoparticles
  • Folic acid
  • Issue 155
  • Optoacoustic
  • Ovarian circulating tumor cells
  • Photoacoustic
  • Photoacoustic flow cytometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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