Probing 3D collective cancer invasion using double-stranded locked nucleic acid biosensors

Zachary S. Dean, Paul Elias, Nima Jamilpour, Urs Utzinger, Pak Kin Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and metastases are responsible for over 90% of human cancer deaths. There is an urgent need to develop novel therapeutics for suppressing cancer invasion, the initial step of metastasis. Nevertheless, the regulation of cancer invasion is poorly understood due to a paucity of tools for monitoring the invasion process in 3D microenvironments. Here, we report a double-stranded locked nucleic acid (dsLNA) biosensor for investigating 3D collective cancer invasion. By incorporating multiphoton microscopy and the dsLNA biosensor, we perform dynamic single cell gene expression analysis while simultaneously characterizing the biomechanical interaction between the invading sprouts and the extracellular matrix. Gene profiling of invasive leader cells and detached cells suggest distinctive signaling mechanisms involved in collective and individual invasion in the 3D microenvironment. Our results underscore the involvement of Notch signaling in 3D collective cancer invasion, which warrants further investigation toward antimetastasis therapy in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8902-8907
Number of pages6
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 6 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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