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Reliable Single Cell Array CGH for Clinical Samples
Zbigniew T. Czyz_1,2, Martin Hoffmann2, Gu¨nter Schlimok3, Bernhard Polzer2, Christoph A. Klein1,2* 1 Experimental Medicine and Therapy Research, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany, 2 Project Group Personalized Tumor Therapy, Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM, Regensburg, Germany, 3 Hospital Augsburg, II. Medical Center, Augsburg, Germany

Background: Disseminated cancer cells (DCCs) and circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are extremely rare, but comprise the precursors cells of distant metastases or therapy resistant cells. The detailed molecular analysis of these cells may help to identify key events of cancer cell dissemination, metastatic colony formation and systemic therapy escape. Methodology/Principal Findings: Using the Ampli1TM whole genome amplification (WGA) technology and high-resolution oligonucleotide aCGH microarrays we optimized conditions for the analysis of structural copy number changes. The protocol presented here enables reliable detection of numerical genomic alterations as small as 0.1 Mb in a single cell. Analysis of single cells from well-characterized cell lines and single normal cells confirmed the stringent quantitative nature of the amplification and hybridization protocol. Importantly, fixation and staining procedures used to detect DCCs showed no significant impact on the outcome of the analysis, proving the clinical usability of our method. In a proof-of-principle study we tracked the chromosomal changes of single DCCs over a full course of high-dose chemotherapy treatment by isolating and analyzing DCCs of an individual breast cancer patient at four different time points. Conclusions/Significance: The protocol enables detailed genome analysis of DCCs and thereby assessment of the clonal evolution during the natural course of the disease and under selection pressures. The results from an exemplary patient provide evidence that DCCs surviving selective therapeutic conditions may be recruited from a pool of genomically less advanced cells, which display a stable subset of specific genomic alterations. Citation: Czyz_ ZT, Hoffmann M, Schlimok G, Polzer B, Klein CA (2014) Reliable Single Cell Array CGH for Clinical Samples. PLoS ONE 9(1): e85907. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0085907

Editor: Anthony W.I. Lo, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Received August 30, 2013; Accepted December 7, 2013; Published January 21, 2014 Copyright: ß 2014 Czyz_ et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Funding: This study was funded by The German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe): grant number 109753. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. * E-mail: [email protected]

reasons, detailed analysis of DCCs and CTCs may help to identify genes and pathways allowing cancer cells to leave the primary lesion, survive in the circulation for extended periods of time, colonize distant sites, and survive systemic therapies.

A variety of analytical techniques have been developed to
amplify and study the genomes of single-cells [15–23]. Chromosomal comparative genomic hybridization (cCGH) could be adapted to analyze single-cell DNA and identify highly penetrant alterations in the genomes of DCCs [19]. This method, although comprehensive, is very labor-intensive and allows only detection of aberrant regions larger than 10–20 Mb. Implementation of array CGH (aCGH) technology revolutionized the study of single-cell cancer genomes. A single-cell aCGH assay using tiling path BAC array platform described by Fiegler et al. allowed detection of a deletion of 8.3 Mb [24]. Using arrays composed of highly purified BAC clones previously we identified aberrant regions as small as 1–2 Mb in cell lines and 4.8 Mb in DCCs [25]. More recent

studies indicate that using high-density oligonucleotide microarrays the detection limit of single-cell aCGH can be reduced to 1 Mb or less in freshly isolated cells [26,27]. Despite these advances an additional hurdle consists in the requirements

imposed by clinical samples. So far, it has not been extensively studied how fixation and staining methods used to identify CTCs and DCCs may influence the outcome of the single-cell aCGH.

Comprehensive analysis of minute quantities of genomic DNA
has become important in a variety of forensic, diagnostic and biological studies. For example, in cancer research or preimplantation diagnostics, the number of available cells for downstream analyses may be as low as one single cell. In cancer research, single-cell technologies are increasingly needed to study the course of metastatic spread of cancer cells. Multiple studies conducted in the past have shown that the presence of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the peripheral blood or disseminated cancer cells (DCCs) in the bone marrow (BM) or lymph nodes (LN) is an independent prognostic factor of poor outcome of almost all tested cancer types [1–5]. Strikingly, it could be shown that cancer cells disseminate very early during the course of disease and evolve in parallel to the tumor cells at the primary site [6–8]. These findings were supported by significant genetic disparity observed between the primary tumors (PTs) and corresponding DCCs [9–11] as well as among DCCs themselves [12]. Subsequent functional studies demonstrated that, at least in the case of esophageal cancer, DCCs show different susceptibility to applied anti-cancer treatment than cancer cells originating from the primary lesion [11]. In line with this, studies in breast cancer have shown that DCCs and CTCs may survive the first line treatment indicating their intrinsic or acquired resistance to cancer therapy [13,14]. For all of these PLOS ONE |


January 2014 | Volume 9 | Issue 1 | e85907

Single-Cell Array CGH for Clinical Samples

The objective here was to establish a robust single-cell aCGH protocol allowing reliable detection of genomic alterations in patient-derived DCCs. We applied Ampli1TM single-cell WGA
technology together with SuperPrint G3 46180 k Agilent aCGH
microarrays to provide a precise and easy to use workflow for highresolution assessment of copy number changes in single cells. We show that the new workflow displays high specificity and enables reliable assessment of the copy number changes in single DCCs, which may be used to address the cellular heterogeneity in cancer. Finally, we demonstrate the potential of our new technique in a case study of DCCs isolated from a patient with advanced breast cancer disease during the course of high-dose chemotherapy


Re-amplification of the WGA products

Materials and Methods

Re-amplification was performed in a volume of 50 ml. Each
PCR reaction was composed of the following ingredients: 5 ml Expand Long Template Buffer 1 (Roche Diagnostic), 1 mM of the LIB1 (59-TAGTGGGATTCCTGCTGTCAGT-39) or MseLig-21
primer (59-AGTGGGATTCCTGCTGTCAGT-39) – depending
on the adapter used in the primary WGA, 1.75 ml dNTPs
(10 mM), 1.25 ml BSA (Roche Diagnostic), 2.5 U of ExpandLong-Template DNA Polymerase (Roche Diagnostic) and 1.0 ml of the template DNA. The MJ thermocycler was set as follows: 1 cycle of 94uC for 60 sec, 60uC for 30 sec, 65uC for 2 min, 10 cycles of 94uC for 30 sec, 60uC for 30 sec, 65uC for 2 min (extended by 20 sec/cycle). Typically three reactions were run in parallel, which were pooled and used as template for DNA labeling and aCGH. A negative control was included in every run.

Ethics statement

Labeling of sample DNA

Bone marrow sampling was performed within the study
protocol of the GEBDIS study at the Central Hospital in
Augsburg after informed written consent of patients was obtained. The ethics committees of the University of Tu¨bingen and of the University of Regensburg (ethics vote number 07-079) approved bone marrow sampling and genomic analysis of the isolated cells. Additionally, as control and reference samples, we used single cells from the mononuclear cell fraction of peripheral blood obtained from five healthy donors. Three donors provided written informed consent after obtaining approval by the ethics committee of the University of Regensburg (ethics vote number 12-101-0038) and two healthy donors provided verbal informed consent. The latter samples were taken before 2008 when no ethics vote for voluntary blood donations of healthy donors was required.

Random-primed DNA labeling approach (RP labeling). Test and reference DNA samples were labeled using SureTag DNA Labeling Kit (Agilent Technologies) according to the instruction provided by the supplier (Agilent Oligonucleotide Array-Based CGH for Genomic DNA Analysis, version 7.1,

December 2011). Briefly, 1.5 – 2.0 mg of the purified input DNA (WGA product or unamplified genomic DNA) was supplemented
with 5 ml of Random Primer Mix and filled up with H2O to 31 ml. Unamplified DNA and WGA products samples were denatured at
95uC for 10 or 3 minutes, respectively. Sample tubes were
transferred on ice and incubated for 5 min. The labeling reaction with exo-Klenow fragment consisted of the following ingredients: 31 ml of denatured DNA, 10 ml of 5x Reaction Buffer, 5.0 ml of 10x dNTP Mix, 3.0 ml of Cy5-dUTP (test) or Cy3-dUTP

(reference) and 1.0 ml of Exo(–) Klenow fragment. Labeling reaction was run at 37uC for two hours, followed by an
inactivation step at 65uC for 10 minutes. Labeled DNA was
purified using Ultra 0.5 purification system with a size cut-off of 30 kDa. DNA yields and dye incorporation rates were quantified using the NanoDrop ND-1000 instrument.
PCR-based labeling. PCR-based labeling using dye-conjugated
universal primer (PCR-T1). Placement of the dye on the universal primer provides the advantage that all restriction digestion fragments present in the WGA product irrespectively of their size will be labeled with the same amount of dye. To avoid crosshybridization of adapter sequences flanking amplicons in the WGA products, test and reference samples were labeled using

different PCR-adapters. Test samples were labeled with the PCRadapter incorporated in the Ampli1TM WGA kit, while all the reference DNA samples were amplified using the following
and ddMse XI (59-TAACCATGCGC-39). Universal primers used
in the labeling reaction were directly conjugated with either Cy5 in the case of Ampli1TM universal primer [59-TAGTGGGATTCCTGCTGTCAGT-39] or Cy3 in the cases of MIB5 primer [59-TGAGCTGGTCATTGCGCATGGT-39] (underscores indicate the placement of the dye). The labeling PCR was run in a total volume of 50 ml reaction composed of 5 ml of 10x Expanded Long Template Buffer 1 (Roche Diagnostics), 2.4 mM

of dye-conjugated LIB1 or MIB5 primer (for test and reference sample, respectively), 350 mM of dNTPs, 0.5 ml BSA (Roche), 3.75 U of Expand-Long-Template DNA Polymerase (Roche Diagnostics) and 1.0 ml of the template DNA. The PCR was programmed as follows: 10 cycle of 94uC for 15 sec, 51uC for 30 sec and 65uC for 3:30 min, 2 cycles of 94uC for 15 ...

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