Our recent investigations on human brain tumor (glioma) cell micro and nanodynamics via AFM methodologies have shown that brain tumor invadopodia (malignant cytostructural cell extensions with sensory, motility, and invasive characteristics extended by tumor cells into their environment) can assume specific geometries based on cell plating density and the location/distance of neighboring cells indicating strong cell sensing and signaling mechanisms between malignant cells and their surroundings. In certain occasions, cancer cell processes (extensions) have been found to be highly directional measuring more than 80 μm while invading neighboring cells by following a connecting straight path. Moreover, strong chemical gradients are suggested to influence the growth and motility of cell processes allowing for gradual adjustments of the direction of the invasive tumor extension. In response to external signals, tumor cell invadopodia develop micron-sized side-ligaments that follow the chemical gradients in their neighborhood and assist the reorientation of their main intrusive elements.

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