Cancer deaths are primarily caused by metastases, not by the parent tumor. During the metastasis, malignant cancer cells detach from the parent tumor, and spread through the patient’s circulatory system to invade new tissues and organs [1]. To study the role played by the mechanical microenvironment on the cancer cell growth and malignancy promotion, we cultured human colon carcinoma (HCT-8) cells in vitro on substrates with varied mechanical stiffness, from the physiologically relevant 1 kPa, 20 kPa to very stiff 3.5 GPa. A novel and versatile micro-electromechanical systems (Bio-MEMS) force sensor [2] is developed to quantify the strength of non-specific adhesion between living cancer cells membrane and probe, an important hallmark of cancer cell malignancy level. Immunoflurescent staining and Confocal microscopy imaging are used to visualize the cellular organelle organization and cooperate to explore the underlying mechanism.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.