Biomedical microdevices

Microelectrode bioimpedance analysis distinguishes basal and claudin-low subtypes of triple negative breast cancer cells.

PMID 26216474


Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is highly aggressive and has a poor prognosis when compared to other molecular subtypes. In particular, the claudin-low subtype of TNBC exhibits tumor-initiating/cancer stem cell like properties. Here, we seek to find new biomarkers to discriminate different forms of TNBC by characterizing their bioimpedance. A customized bioimpedance sensor with four identical branched microelectrodes with branch widths adjusted to accommodate spreading of individual cells was fabricated on silicon and pyrex/glass substrates. Cell analyses were performed on the silicon devices which showed somewhat improved inter-electrode and intra-device reliability. We performed detailed analysis of the bioimpedance spectra of four TNBC cell lines, comparing the peak magnitude, peak frequency and peak phase angle between claudin-low TNBC subtype represented by MDA-MB-231 and Hs578T with that of two basal cells types, the TNBC MDA-MB-468, and an immortalized non-malignant basal breast cell line, MCF-10A. The claudin-low TNBC cell lines showed significantly higher peak frequencies and peak phase angles than the properties might be useful in distinguishing the clinically significant claudin-low subtype of TNBC.