To investigate the formation of breast cancer tumours, researchers from EMBL (Heidelberg, Germany) used the Invi SPIM from Luxendo to perform long-term live cell imaging (up to 4 days). This was possible due to the low phototoxicity and high resolution provided by the Invi SPIM system. The authors reported that only small local clusters of transformed cells but not individual transformed cells result in the formation of tumours in mice. Their research has been published in the journal eLife as of July 2020.
Tracking cells in epithelial acini by light sheet microscopy reveals proximity effects in breast cancer initiation
Ashna Alladin, Lucas Chaible, Lucia Garcia del Valle, Reither Sabine, Monika Loeschinger, Malte Wachsmuth, Jean-Karim Hériché, Christian Tischer and Martin Jechlinger.
eLife 2020;9:e54066 doi: 10.7554/eLife.54066
Cancer clone evolution takes place within tissue ecosystem habitats. But, how exactly tumors arise from a few malignant cells within an intact epithelium is a central, yet unanswered question. This is mainly due to the inaccessibility of this process to longitudinal imaging together with a lack of systems that model the progression of a fraction of transformed cells within a tissue. Here, we developed a new methodology based on primary mouse mammary epithelial acini, where oncogenes can be switched on in single cells within an otherwise normal epithelial cell layer. We combine this stochastic breast tumor induction model with inverted light-sheet imaging to study single-cell behavior for up to four days and analyze cell fates utilizing a newly developed image-data analysis workflow. The power of this integrated approach is illustrated by us finding that small local clusters of transformed cells form tumors while isolated transformed cells do not.