Understanding of cell migration and spreading out of tumor tissue is of great interest concerning the mechanism and causes of tumor malignancy and metastases. Although there are methods available for studying cell migration on monolayer cell cultures like transwell assays, novel techniques for monitoring cell spreading out of 3D organoids or tumor tissue samples are highly required. In this context, we developed an innovative high-dense microelectrode array for impedimetric monitoring of cell migration from 3D tumor cultures. For a proof of concept, a strongly migrating breast cancer cell line (MDA-MB-231) and two malignant melanoma cell lines (T30.6.9, T12.8.10ZII) were used for generating viable micro-tumor models. The migration propensity was determined by impedimetric monitoring over 144 hours, correlated by microscopy and validated by transwell assays. The impedimetric analysis of covered electrodes and the relative impedance maximum values revealed extended information regarding the contribution of proliferative effects. More strikingly, using reference populations of mitomycin C treated spheroids where proliferation was suppressed, distinction of proliferation and migration was possible. Therefore, our high-dense microelectrode array based impedimetric migration monitoring has the capability for an automated quantitative analysis system that can be easily scaled up as well as integrated in lab on chip devices.
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