Otolaryngology--head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

Analysis of radiation-induced cell death in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and rat liver maintained in microfluidic devices.

PMID 24098006


The aim of this study was to investigate how head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) tissue biopsies maintained in a pseudo in vivo environment within a bespoke microfluidic device respond to radiation treatment. Feasibility study. Tertiary referral center. Thirty-five patients with HNSCC were recruited, and liver tissue from 5 Wistar rats was obtained. A microfluidic device was used to maintain the tissue biopsy samples in a viable state. Rat liver was used to optimize the methodology. HNSCC was obtained from patients with T1-T3 laryngeal or oropharyngeal SCC; N1-N2 metastatic cervical lymph nodes were also obtained. Irradiation consisted of single doses of between 2 Gy and 40 Gy and a fractionated course of 5×2 Gy. Cell death was assessed in the tissue effluent using the soluble markers lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and cytochrome c and in the tissue by immunohistochemical detection of cleaved cytokeratin18 (M30 antibody). A significant surge in LDH release was demonstrated in the rat liver after a single dose of 20 Gy; in HNSCC, it was seen after 40 Gy compared with the control. There was no significant difference in cytochrome c release after 5 Gy or 10 Gy. M30 demonstrated a dose-dependent increase in apoptotic index for a given increase in single-dose radiotherapy. There was a significant increase in apoptotic index between 1×2 Gy and 5×2 Gy. M30 is a superior method compared with soluble markers in detecting low-dose radiation-induced cell death. This microfluidic technique can be used to assess radiation-induced cell death in HNSCC and therefore has the potential to be used to predict radiation response.