In previous studies, only 1% of cells in the cultured human pancreatic cancer cell line, PANC-1, were capable of invasion through Matrigel® in a transwell invasion assay. This suggested that invasive PANC-1 cells have unique characteristics conferring this phenotype. This was further investigated using a 3D spheroid model of PANC-1, embedded in Matrigel, coupled with IncuCyte® Live Cell imaging and analysis to capture the movement of the distinct invading population in real time. The identified, invasive PANC-1 were collected and metabolically characterized by CE-TOFMS, and their metabolic profile compared with whole-culture PANC-1. (Fujita et al. 2017, Cancer Science). The invasive PANC-1 cells were distinct from those of the whole cultured PANC-1, with demonstrated increased consumption of ATP, assumed activation of ATP-generating pathways, and higher arginine utilization by NOS. Although they had higher oxidative stress, the invading cells were also more resistant to it with greater survival upon exposure to H2O2. A reduction of intracellular GSH by BSO inhibited PANC-1 invasiveness. Taken together, these results provide a unique metabolic profile for this invasive PANC-1 cell population, as compared to control cells. Such methodology is readily available for similar assessments of invasive cell phenotypes.
Dr. Mayumi Fujita received her PhD from the University of Tokyo, Japan, and has been working at National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology in Japan since 2008. She also joined the lab of Dr. David A. Wink at the National Institute of Health last year and investigated the role of nitric oxide in invading cells. She studies the mechanism of cancer cell invasion and developed a real-time imaging model of invading cells.