Liquid biopsy represents a new frontier of cancer diagnosis and prognosis, which allows the isolation of tumor cells released in the blood stream. The extremely low abundance of these cells needs appropriate methodologies for their identification and enumeration. Herein we present a new protocol based on surface enhanced resonance Raman scattering (SERRS) gold multivalent nanostructures to identify and enumerate tumor cells with epithelial and mesenchimal markers. The validation of the protocol is obtained with spiked samples of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Gold nanostructures are functionalized with SERRS labels and with antibodies to link the tumor cells. Three types of such nanosystems were simultaneously used and the protocol allows obtaining the identification of all individual tumor cells with the help of a Random Forest ensemble learning method.
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