Multiplexed detection and characterization of rare tumor cells in Hodgkin's lymphoma with multicolor quantum dots

Jian Liu, Stephen K. Lau, Vijay A. Varma, Brad A. Kairdolf, Shuming Nie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The multicolor and multiplexing capabilities of semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) are most promising for improving the sensitivity and specificity of in vitro molecular and cellular diagnostics. Here, we report the use of multiplexed QDs and wavelength-resolved imaging to detect and characterize a class of low-abundant tumor cells in Hodgkin's lymphoma. Known as the Hodgkin's and Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells, this class of malignant cells is a pathological hallmark in clinical diagnosis, but it comprises only about 1% of the heterogeneous infiltrating cells in lymph node tissues. To overcome this cellular heterogeneity and rarity problem, we have developed multicolor QD-antibody conjugates to simultaneously detect a panel of four protein biomarkers (CD15, CD30, CD45, and Pax5) directly on human tissue biopsies. This multiplexing approach allows rapid detection and differentiation of rare HRS cells from infiltrating immune cells such as T and B lymphocytes. We have also carried out clinical translation studies involving six confirmed Hodgkin's lymphoma patients, two suspicious lymphoma cases, and two patients with reactive lymph nodes (but not lymphoma). The results indicate that a distinct QD staining pattern (CD15 positive, CD30 positive, CD45 negative, and Pax5 positive) can be used to not only detect Hodgkin's lymphoma but also differentiate it from benign lymphoid hyperplasia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6237-6243
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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