We are pleased to share that our project on circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in glioma has been published in Cells, with leading authorship of our industrial PhD Student Sara Bang-Christensen.


Patients suffering from glioma still have a dismal prognosis and hence further diagnostic and therapeutic options are urgently needed. Indeed, detection of CTCs in gliomas is a relatively novel finding as these tumors were thought to be non-metastasizing until recently. Nevertheless, the enrichment and identification of circulating glioma cells remain challenging due to their high heterogeneity, which complicates the identification of suitable markers for enrichment and/or identification of CTCs from these patients.


In this study, we characterized proteoglycans with oncofetal chondroitin sulfate in glioma cell lines and identified several well-known VAR2CSA targets such as CD44 or syndecans. Importantly, recombinant VAR2CSA was used for the first time in a combined capture and identification approach for CTC detection from clinical blood samples. Since recombinant VAR2CSA has the potential to bind various interaction partners, this approach provides advantages for heterogeneous tumors like gliomas. Moreover, this study demonstrated the tumor-origin of putative CTCs in glioma patient samples by mutational profiling with next-generation sequencing.


"I am very excited about the use of VAR2CSA for both capture and detection of CTCs, as it opens up the possibility to identify CTCs from a broad spectrum of cancer types lacking epithelial traits" comments Sara Bang-Christensen, industrial PhD student funded by Innovation Fund Denmark.


Publication: Bang-Christensen, S.R.; Pedersen, R.S.; Pereira, M.A.; Clausen, T.M.; Løppke, C.; Sand, N.T.; Ahrens, T.D.; Jørgensen, A.M.; Lim, Y.C.; Goksøyr, L.; Choudhary, S.; Gustavsson, T.; Dagil, R.; Daugaard, M.; Sander, A.F.; Torp, M.H.; Søgaard, M.; Theander, T.G.; Østrup, O.; Lassen, U.; Hamerlik, P.; Salanti, A.; Agerbæk, M.Ø. Capture and Detection of Circulating Glioma Cells Using the Recombinant VAR2CSA Malaria Protein. Cells DOI: 10.3390/cells8090998 (


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