Fourier ptychographic microscopy for filtration-based circulating tumor cell enumeration and analysis

Anthony Williams, Jaebum Chung, Xiaoze Ou, Guoan Zheng, Siddarth Rawal, Zheng Ao, Ram Datar, Changhuei Yang, Richard Cote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are recognized as a candidate biomarker with strong prognostic and predictive potential in metastatic disease. Filtration-based enrichment technologies have been used for CTC characterization, and our group has previously developed a membrane microfilter device that demonstrates efficacy in model systems and clinical blood samples. However, uneven filtration surfaces make the use of standard microscopic techniques a difficult task, limiting the performance of automated imaging using commercially available technologies. Here, we report the use of Fourier ptychographic microscopy (FPM) to tackle this challenge. Employing this method, we were able to obtain high-resolution color images, including amplitude and phase, of the microfilter samples over large areas. FPM's ability to perform digital refocusing on complex images is particularly useful in this setting as, in contrast to other imaging platforms, we can focus samples on multiple focal planes within the same frame despite surface unevenness. In model systems, FPM demonstrates high image quality, efficiency, and consistency in detection of tumor cells when comparing corresponding microfilter samples to standard microscopy with high correlation (R2 = 0.99932). Based on these results, we believe that FPM will have important implications for improved, high throughput, filtration-based CTC analysis, and, more generally, image analysis of uneven surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number066007
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Fourier ptychographic microscopy
  • circulating tumor cells
  • metastasis
  • microfilter device


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