Selective microfluidic capture and detection of prostate cancer cells from urine without digital rectal examination

Kit Man Chan, Jonathan M. Gleadle, Philip A. Gregory, Caroline A. Phillips, Hanieh Safizadeh Shirazi, Amelia Whiteley, Jordan Li, Krasimir Vasilev, Melanie Macgregor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Urine-based biomarkers have shown suitable diagnostic potential for prostate cancer (PCa) detection. Yet, until now, prostatic massage remains required prior to urine sampling. Here, we test a potential diagnostic approach using voided urine collected without prior digital rectal examination (DRE). In this study, we evaluated the diagnostic performance of a microfluidic-based platform that combines the principle of photodynamic diagnostic with immunocapture for the detection of PCa cells. The functionality and sensitivity of this platform were validated using both cultured cells and PCa patient urine samples. Quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) demonstrated this platform had a detection limit of fewer than 10 cells per 60 μL and successfully validated the presence of a PCa biomarker in the urine of cancer patients without prior DRE. This biosensing platform exhibits a sensitivity of 72.4% and a specificity of 71.4%, in suitable agreement with qRT-PCR data. The results of this study constitute a stepping stone in the future development of noninvasive prostate cancer diagnostic technologies that do not require DRE.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5544
Number of pages17
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Biosensors
  • Cancer detection
  • Hexaminolevulinic acid
  • Microfluidic
  • Nanotechnologies
  • Photodynamic diagnosis
  • Prostate cancer
  • PSMA
  • Urine


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