We have studied live non-malignant (MCF10A), mildly malignant (MCF7) and malignant (MDA-MB-231) breast cancer cells and human breast cancer tissue. We demonstrate the first application of Raman imaging and spectroscopy in diagnosing the role of lipid droplets in cell line cultures that closely mimic an in vivo environment of various stages in human breast cancer tissue. We have analyzed the composition of the lipid droplets in non-malignant and malignant human breast epithelial cell lines and discussed the potential of lipid droplets as a prognostic marker in breast cancer. To identify any difference in the lipid droplet-associated biochemistry and to correlate it with different stages of breast cancer, the PCA method was employed. The chemical composition of lipids and proteins, both in the cell line models and in human breast tissue has been analyzed. The paper shows the alterations in lipid metabolism that have been reported in cancer, at both the cellular and tissue levels, and discusses how they contribute to the different aspects of tumourigenesis.
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