Analysis of Cancer Cell Invasion and Anti-metastatic Drug Screening Using Hydrogel Micro-chamber Array (HMCA)-based Plates

Orit Ravid-Hermesh, Naomi Zurgil, Yana Shafran, Elena Afrimzon, Maria Sobolev, Yaron Hakuk, Zehavit Bar-On Eizig, Mordechai Deutsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cancer metastasis is known to cause 90% of cancer lethality. Metastasis is a multistage process which initiates with the penetration/invasion of tumor cells into neighboring tissue. Thus, invasion is a crucial step in metastasis, making the invasion process research and development of anti-metastatic drugs, highly significant. To address this demand, there is a need to develop 3D in vitro models which imitate the architecture of solid tumors and their microenvironment most closely to in vivo state on one hand, but at the same time be reproducible, robust and suitable for high yield and high content measurements. Currently, most invasion assays lean on sophisticated microfluidic technologies which are adequate for research but not for high volume drug screening. Other assays using plate-based devices with isolated individual spheroids in each well are material consuming and have low sample size per condition. The goal of the current protocol is to provide a simple and reproducible biomimetic 3D cell-based system for the analysis of invasion capacity in large populations of tumor spheroids. We developed a 3D model for invasion assay based on HMCA imaging plate for the research of tumor invasion and anti-metastatic drug discovery. This device enables the production of numerous uniform spheroids per well (high sample size per condition) surrounded by ECM components, while continuously and simultaneously observing and measuring the spheroids at single-element resolution for medium throughput screening of anti-metastatic drugs. This platform is presented here by the production of HeLa and MCF7 spheroids for exemplifying single cell and collective invasion. We compare the influence of the ECM component hyaluronic acid (HA) on the invasive capacity of collagen surrounding HeLa spheroids. Finally, we introduce Fisetin (invasion inhibitor) to HeLa spheroids and nitric oxide (NO) (invasion activator) to MCF7 spheroids. The results are analyzed by in-house software which enables semi-automatic, simple and fast analysis which facilitates multi-parameter examination.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number140
StatePublished - 25 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


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