Accurate characterization of benign and cancerous breast tissues: Aspecific patient studies using piezoresistive microcantilevers

Hardik J. Pandya, Rajarshi Roy, Wenjin Chen, Marina A. Chekmareva, David J. Foran, Jaydev P. Desai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Breast cancer is the largest detected cancer amongst women in the US. In this work, our team reports on the development of piezoresistive microcantilevers (PMCs) to investigate their potential use in the accurate detection and characterization of benign and diseased breast tissues by performing indentations on the micro-scale tissue specimens. The PMCs used in these experiments have been fabricated using laboratory-made silicon-on-insulator (SOI) substrate, which significantly reduces the fabrication costs. The PMCs are 260μm long, 35μm wide and 2μm thick with resistivity of order 1.316×10-3Ωcm obtained by using boron diffusion technique. For indenting the tissue, we utilized 8μm thick cylindrical SU-8 tip. The PMC was calibrated against a known AFM probe. Breast tissue cores from seven different specimens were indented using PMC to identify benign and cancerous tissue cores. Furthermore, field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) of benign and cancerous specimens showed marked differences in the tissue morphology, which further validates our observed experimental data with the PMCs. While these patient aspecific feasibility studies clearly demonstrate the ability to discriminate between benign and cancerous breast tissues, further investigation is necessary to perform automated mechano-phenotyping (classification) of breast cancer: from onset to disease progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-424
Number of pages11
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
StatePublished - Jan 15 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


  • Breast cancer
  • MEMS sensor
  • Piezoresistive microcantilever
  • Tissue microarray

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