(143d) Quantification of the Effects of High Shear Stresses on Single Circulating Tumor Cells Using a Microfluidic Device

Melvin, A., Louisiana State University
Landwehr, G., Louisiana State University
Rahman, S. M., Louisiana State University
Pettigrew, J., Louisiana State University
Triantafillu, U. L., The University of Alabama
Kim, Y., The University of Alabama
An important step in the metastatic progression of cancer is the migration of cancer cells from a primary tumor to distal location through intravasation, in which cancer cells travel through the bloodstream as circulating tumor cells (CTCs). While in the blood vessels, CTCs experience hemodynamic shear stresses at high levels (5-60 dyn/cm2). Previous studies identified that exposing cancer cells to fluid shear stress (FSS) induced a phenotypic change causing the cells to be more metastatic. While a novel finding, this study was limited in its ability to control the FSS used to challenge the cells and was limited to only final measurements at the end of the experiment. The goal of this project was to address this limitation by developing a microfluidic device to isolate and trap single CTCs and then interrogate them with varying amounts FSS. The microfluidics traps were designed with a semi-circular geometry with a space in the middle to allow for optimal trapping and testing of FSS-induced cell deformability. COMSOL simulations were performed to optimize the fluid velocity profile of the device to ensure a high trapping efficiency. The simulations also identified the flow profiles needed to produce FSS on the cells that they typically encounter in the bloodstream. These flow profiles were used to test the phenotypic change in MDA-MB-231 cells trapped in the microfluidic device. Preliminary findings demonstrate the ability to efficiently trap single cells in the microfluidic device to test FSS-induced changes on cell deformability and viability allowing for a more accurate determination of cell phenotype. These results will provide new insight into the mechanisms of how CTCs survive in the bloodstream and if changes in FSS results in a more aggressive cancer phenotype.