Breast Cancer Cell Line Aggregate Morphology Does Not Predict Invasive Capacity

Ziperstein, Michelle Joy; Guzman, Asja; Kaufman, Laura J.

To invade and metastasize to distant loci, breast cancer cells must breach the layer of basement membrane surrounding the tumor and then invade through the dense collagen I-rich extracellular environment of breast tissue. Previous studies have shown that breast cancer cell aggregate morphology in basement membrane extract correlated with cell invasive capacity in some contexts. Moreover, cell lines from the same aggregate morphological class exhibited similarities in gene expression patterns. To further assess the capacity of cell and aggregate morphology to predict invasive capacity in physiologically relevant environments, six cell lines with varied cell aggregate morphologies were assessed in a variety of assays including a 3D multicellular invasion assay that recapitulates cell-cell and cell-environment contacts as they exist in vivo in the context of the primary breast tumor. Migratory and invasive capacities as measured through a 2D gap assay and a 3D spheroid invasion assay reveal that breast cancer cell aggregate morphology alone is insufficient to predict migratory speed in 2D or invasive capacity in 3D. Correlations between the 3D spheroid invasion assay and gene expression profiles suggest this assay as an inexpensive functional method to predict breast cancer invasive capacity.


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December 15, 2015