Quantification of breast cancer cell invasiveness using a three-dimensional (3D) model

Donna Cvetković, Cameron Glenn Franklin Goertzen, Mousumi Moshmi Bhattacharya Babwah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


It is now well known that the cellular and tissue microenvironment are critical regulators influencing tumor initiation and progression. Moreover, the extracellular matrix (ECM) has been demonstrated to be a critical regulator of cell behavior in culture and homeostasis in vivo. The current approach of culturing cells on two-dimensional (2D), plastic surfaces results in the disturbance and loss of complex interactions between cells and their microenvironment. Through the use of three-dimensional (3D) culture assays, the conditions for cell-microenvironment interaction are established resembling the in vivo microenvironment. This article provides a detailed methodology to grow breast cancer cells in a 3D basement membrane protein matrix, exemplifying the potential of 3D culture in the assessment of cell invasion into the surrounding environment. In addition, we discuss how these 3D assays have the potential to examine the loss of signaling molecules that regulate epithelial morphology by immunostaining procedures. These studies aid to identify important mechanistic details into the processes regulating invasion, required for the spread of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere51341
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number88
StatePublished - Jun 11 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


  • Basement membrane matrix
  • Breast cancer
  • Cell invasion
  • Extracellular matrix (ECM)
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Issue 88
  • Matrigel
  • Medicine
  • Three-dimensional (3D) cultures

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