Developing a low-cost, simple-to-use electrochemical sensor for the detection of circulating tumour DNA in human fluids

Attoye, Bukola O. and Pou, Chantevy and Blair, Ewen and Rinaldi, Christopher and Thomson, Fiona and Baker, Matthew J. and Corrigan, Damion K. (2020) Developing a low-cost, simple-to-use electrochemical sensor for the detection of circulating tumour DNA in human fluids. Biosensors, 10 (11). 156. ISSN 2079-6374 (

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It is well-known that two major issues, preventing improved outcomes from cancer are late diagnosis and the evolution of drug resistance during chemotherapy, therefore technologies that address these issues can have a transformative effect on healthcare workflows. In this work we present a simple, low-cost DNA biosensor that was developed specifically to detect mutations in a key oncogene (KRAS). The sensor employed was a screen-printed array of carbon electrodes, used to perform parallel measurements of DNA hybridisation. A DNA amplification reaction was developed with primers for mutant and wild type KRAS sequences which amplified target sequences from representative clinical samples to detectable levels in as few as twenty cycles. High levels of sensitivity were demonstrated alongside a clear exemplar of assay specificity by showing the mutant KRAS sequence was detectable against a significant background of wild type DNA following amplification and hybridisation on the sensor surface. The time to result was found to be 3.5 h with considerable potential for optimisation through assay integration. This quick and versatile biosensor has the potential to be deployed in a low-cost, point-of-care test where patients can be screened either for early diagnosis purposes or monitoring of response to therapy.


Attoye, Bukola O., Pou, Chantevy, Blair, Ewen ORCID logoORCID:, Rinaldi, Christopher, Thomson, Fiona, Baker, Matthew J. ORCID logoORCID: and Corrigan, Damion K. ORCID logoORCID:;