Effects of nanopillar array diameter and spacing on cancer cell capture and cell behaviors†
While substrates with nanopillars (NPs) have emerged as promising platforms for isolation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs), the influence of diameter and spacing of NPs on CTC capture is still unclear. In this paper, CTC-capture yield and cell behaviors have been investigated by using antibody functionalized NPs of various diameters (120–1100 nm) and spacings (35–800 nm). The results show a linear relationship between the cell capture yield and effective contact area of NP substrates where a NP array of small diameter and reasonable spacing is preferred; however, spacing that is too small or too large adversely impairs the capture efficiency and specificity, respectively. In addition, the formation of pseudopodia between captured cells and the substrate is found to be dependent not only on cell adhesion status but also on elution strength and shear direction. These findings provide essential guidance in designing NP substrates for more efficient capture of CTCs and manipulation of cytomorphology in future.