Towards a personalized approach to aromatase inhibitor therapy: a digital microfluidic platform for rapid analysis of estradiol in core-needle-biopsies
Despite advances in breast cancer prevention and treatment, variability in patient-response has revealed the need for a more “personalized” approach to medicine, in which treatments are tailored to each patient's biology. Motivated by this idea, we introduce a technique that allows for quantification of small-molecule analytes directly from core needle biopsy (CNB) tissue samples on a miniaturized platform. The new technique, powered by digital microfluidics, integrates tissue-liquid extraction and magnetic bead-based competitive immunoassay for quantification of estradiol in milligram-sized CNB samples. Each measurement (from start to finish) requires ∼40 minutes, a duration consistent with a visit to a doctor's office. The performance of the new technique was validated by the gold-standard analysis method (high performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry), and was applied to evaluate human patient samples before and after a course of treatment with aromatase inhibitor therapy. We propose that the new technique has great potential for eventual use for fast, automated, and quantitative analysis of biomarkers in tissue samples, towards a personalized medicine approach.