1. Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-710, Republic of Korea.
2. Department of Physics, Dongguk University, Seoul 04620, Republic of Korea.
Lower cellular elasticity is a distinguishing feature of cancer cells compared with normal cells. To determine whether cellular elasticity differs based on cancer cell type, cells were selected from three different cancer types including breast, cervix, and lung. For each cancer type, one counterpart normal cell and three types of cancer cells were selected, and their elasticity was measured using atomic force microscopy (AFM). The elasticity of normal cells was in the order of MCF10A > WI-38 ≥ Ect1/E6E7 which corresponds to the counterpart normal breast, lung, and cervical cancer cells, respectively. All cancer cells exhibited lower elasticity than their counterpart normal cells. Compared with the counterpart normal cells, the difference in cellular elasticity was the greatest in cervical cancer cells, followed by lung and breast cancer cells. This result indicates lower elasticity is a unique property of cancer cells; however, the reduction in elasticity may depend on the histological origin of the cells. The F-actin cytoskeleton of cancer cells was different in structure and content from normal cells. The F-actin is mainly distributed at the periphery of cancer cells and its content was mostly lower than that seen in normal cells.
Keywords: Cellular elasticity, breast cancer, cervix cancer, lung cancer, atomic force microscopy, F-actin