Early stage mechanical remodeling of collagen surrounding head and neck squamous cell carcinoma spheroids correlates strongly with their invasion capability.

Affiliation

Institute of Biophotonics, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei 11221, Taiwan; Biophotonics and Molecular Imaging Research Center, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei 11221, Taiwan; Cancer Progression Research Center, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei 11221, Taiwan. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Mechanical remodeling of stromal collagen, such as reorientation and deformation of collagen matrix, generated by invading cancer cells, plays an important role in the progression of cancer invasion and metastasis. In this study, we applied time-lapse microscopy in conjunction with particle displacement mapping to analyze time-dependent contraction and expansion deformations of collagen surrounding individual spheroids of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells (HNSCC), OECM-1 & SAS, as the cancer cells detached from the spheroid and invaded into the surrounding 3D collagen matrix. Our results revealed that highly-invasive HNSCC spheroids, stimulated by epidermal growth factor (EGF), generated a strong contraction deformation of the surrounding collagen in the very early stage, and aligned the collagen fibers radially with respect to the center of the spheroid. This initial collagen contraction deformation generated by the HNSCC spheroid bears a strong positive correlation with the overall extent of subsequent cancer cells invasion; hence, it may serve as an early indicator of the invasion capability of the HNSCC spheroids. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Mechanical remodeling of extracellular matrix (ECM) generated by cancer cells plays an important role in the progression of cancer invasion and metastasis. We observed that the extent of initial contraction deformation of collagen surrounding a head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell (HNSCC) spheroid played an indispensable role in early stage to promote cancer cells invasion into the surrounding ECM. Our results revealed that more invasive HNSCC spheroids generated a larger extent of initial collagen contraction to align the surrounding collagen and to promote cancer cells invasion. This initial collagen contraction deformation generated by the HNSCC spheroids bears a strong positive correlation with the overall extent of cancer cells invasion; hence, it may serve as an early indicator of the invasion capability of the HNSCC spheroids.

Keywords

3D cell culture,Cancer invasion capability,Cancer spheroids,Collagen deformation,Collagen realignment,Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells (HNSCC),