Multiple Breast Cancer Tumor Interactions in a Microfluidic Platform


Multiple Breast Cancer Tumor Interactions in a Microfluidic Platform



Elizabeth Avera


Presentation: 1:00-1:20 p.m., Kennedy Union 207



Breast cancer has been the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women. It is estimated that 15-25% of breast cancer cases are classified as multifocal (MF) or multicentric (MC). MF and MC breast cancers, compared with unifocal breast cancers, tend to be more aggressive and are associated with lower survival rates, higher recurrence, and lymph node metastasis. This project studied the interactive behaviors between multiple breast cancer tumors using an in vitro model combined of three-dimensional breast cancer spheroids and microfluidics technology. We determined that the MF/MC breast cancer spheroids moved across their extracellular matrix, shortening the distance between each other by 871.1±602.7 um and 765.846±547.7 um, for 3 and 2 MF/MC breast cancer spheroids respectively, over 72 hours. There was no significant change in individual breast cancer spheroids area over 72 hours, but in the multiple setup spheroids tended to merge into a larger one. Initial observations depict nonuniform collagen extracellular matrix expression after 72 hours in the MF/MC model. We anticipate this is due to degradation of the collagen extracellular matrix over time caused by the MF/MC spheroids. This study helps broaden our understanding of the characteristics and invasive mechanisms of MF/MC breast cancer tumors, allowing us to better predict patient prognosis and suggest novel targets for breast cancer treatments in subsequent studies.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Honors Thesis

Primary Advisor

Loan Bui

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences

Multiple Breast Cancer Tumor Interactions in a Microfluidic Platform