Objectives. To develop a procedure to be used to find, identify, and characterize the living prostate cancer cells in the blood of patients with prostate cancer. Methods. The procedure is based on a negative selection approach that removes most of the blood cells and collects the remaining prostate cancer cells, which are identified and characterized by fluorescent in situ hybridization with deoxyribonucleic acid probes and by indirect fluorescent immunocytochemical staining. The blood cells are removed via density gradient centrifugation. Results. Using the prostate cancer LNCaP cells as a model, the recovery rate of the added prostate cancer cells to 10 mL of blood was about 85%, with a dilution of 1 LNCaP cell to 10,000 white blood cells or more. Blood samples varying from 9 to 27 mL were collected and analyzed from 8 men aged 54 to 79 years who had varying levels of PSA in serum. In one blood sample, prostate cancer cells were not found; in the seven other samples, the number of prostate cancer cells found per milliliter of blood varied from 1 to 20. Prostate cancer cells were not found in 7.5 to 15-mL blood samples from 3 healthy younger men. The prostate cells were found to be aneuploid for chromosomes 7 and 8, highly suggestive that these cells were cancerous. Conclusions. Using a negative selection approach, prostate cells can be found in the blood of patients with prostate cancer, as identified by prostate cell-specific probes and antibodies. These cells were found to be aneuploid.
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