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Cellular traction forces : a useful parameter in cancer research

  • Zhen Li
  • Henrik Persson
  • Karl Adolfsson
  • Laura Abariute
  • Magnus T Borgström
  • Dan Hessman
  • Kalle Åström
  • Stina Oredsson
  • Christelle N Prinz
Publishing year: 2017-12-14
Language: English
Pages: 19039-19044
Publication/Series: Nanoscale
Volume: 9
Issue: 48
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry

Abstract english

The search for new cancer biomarkers is essential for fundamental research, diagnostics, as well as for patient treatment and monitoring. Whereas most cancer biomarkers are biomolecules, an increasing number of studies show that mechanical cues are promising biomarker candidates. Although cell deformability has been shown to be a possible cancer biomarker, cellular forces as cancer biomarkers have been left largely unexplored. Here, we measure traction forces of cancer and normal-like cells at high spatial resolution using a robust method based on dense vertical arrays of nanowires. A force map is created using automated image analysis based on the localization of the fluorescent tips of the nanowires. We show that the force distribution and magnitude differ between MCF7 breast cancer cells and MCF10A normal-like breast epithelial cells, and that monitoring traction forces can be used to investigate the effects of anticancer drugs.


  • Cancer and Oncology
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
  • Journal Article


  • Leukocyte Migration
  • Mathematical Imaging Group
  • ISSN: 2040-3372
Stina Oredsson
E-mail: stina [dot] oredsson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Functional zoology

+46 46 222 94 97



Principal investigator

LUCC - Lund University Cancer Centre

Research group

Animal Physiology


Cell proliferation

Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD Students, main supervisor

Wendy Soria Sotillo

PhD Students, assistant supervisor

Atena Malakpour Permlid