Tumorigenesis is a complex process involving cell mutagenesis and the transformation of cells from normal to aberrant proliferative behavior. Tumor cells escape the normal constraints on cell division and then progress through the stages of uncontrolled cell proliferation and tumor formation. All the cells derived from the parent tumor cells display tumorigenic behavior and contribute to the tumor mass as it grows. Tumor growth and survival is dependent on the process of angiogenesis, which provides the tumor with a vascular network and blood supply that effectively feeds the tumor cells. The resulting tumor may remain within the tissue of origin (referred to as in situ cancer) or spread to other tissues and organs via the process of metastasis (referred to as invasive cancer). Understanding how likely a cancer is to be invasive is important as tumor metastasis is considered the leading cause of death in cancer patients1. Transwell permeable supports have traditionally been used to better understand cell invasion as cells can crawl through the pores of inserts that have been coated with extracellular matrices (ECMs) and or cells to better replicate the path cancer cells would have to take to get to another tissue2. Recently, spheroid models are being utilized to better understand tumor invasion and angiogenesis mechanisms as spheroids can be easily formed on low attachment plates and embedded in ECMs3.With imaging technology, like confocal imagers, the rate of invasion or angiogenesis can be studied.
1. González-Orozco, Juan Carlos, et al. “In Vitro Models for Studying Tumor Progression.” Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) vol. 2174 (2021): 193-206. doi:10.1007/978-1-0716-0759-6_12
2. Justus, Calvin R, et al. “Transwell In Vitro Cell Migration and Invasion Assays.” Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) vol. 2644 (2023): 349-359. doi:10.1007/978-1-0716-3052-5_22
3. Chen, Yin-Quan, et al. "Early stage mechanical remodeling of collagen surrounding head and neck squamous cell carcinoma spheroids correlates strongly with their invasion capability." Acta biomaterialia 84 (2019): 280-292.