The Analyst

Infrared imaging of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell line phenotypes in 2D and 3D cultures.

PMID 25568895


One current challenge in the field of breast cancer infrared imaging is the identification of carcinoma cell subtypes in the tissue. Neither sequencing nor immunochemistry is currently able to provide a cell by cell thorough classification. The latter is needed to build accurate statistical models capable of recognizing the diversity of breast cancer cell lines that may be present in a tissue section. One possible approach for overcoming this problem is to obtain the IR spectral signature of well-characterized tumor cell lines in culture. Cultures in three-dimensional matrices appear to generate an environment that mimics better the in vivo environment. There are, at present, series of breast cancer cell lines that have been thoroughly characterized in two- and three-dimensional (2D and 3D) cultures by full transcriptomics analyses. In this work, we describe the methods used to grow, to process, and to characterize a triple-negative breast cancer cell line, MDA-MB-231, in 3D laminin-rich extracellular matrix (lrECM) culture and compare it with traditional monolayer cultures and tissue sections. While unsupervised analyses did not completely separate spectra of cells grown in 2D from 3D lrECM cultures, a supervised statistical analysis resulted in an almost perfect separation. When IR spectral responses of epithelial tumor cells from clinical triple-negative breast carcinoma samples were added to these data, a principal component analysis indicated that they cluster closer to the spectra of 3D culture cells than to the spectra of cells grown on a flat plastic substrata. This result is encouraging because of correlating well-characterized cell line features with clinical biopsies.