Optical redox ratio identifies metastatic potential-dependent changes in breast cancer cell metabolism

Biomed Opt Express. 2016 Oct 3;7(11):4364-4374. doi: 10.1364/BOE.7.004364. eCollection 2016 Nov 1.


The development of prognostic indicators of breast cancer metastatic risk could reduce the number of patients receiving chemotherapy for tumors with low metastatic potential. Recent evidence points to a critical role for cell metabolism in driving breast cancer metastasis. Endogenous fluorescence intensity of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) can provide a label-free method for assessing cell metabolism. We report the optical redox ratio of FAD/(FAD + NADH) of four isogenic triple-negative breast cancer cell lines with varying metastatic potential. Under normoxic conditions, the redox ratio increases with increasing metastatic potential (168FARN>4T07>4T1), indicating a shift to more oxidative metabolism in cells capable of metastasis. Reoxygenation following acute hypoxia increased the redox ratio by 43 ± 9% and 33 ± 4% in the 4T1 and 4T07 cells, respectively; in contrast, the redox ratio decreased 14 ± 7% in the non-metastatic 67NR cell line. These results demonstrate that the optical redox ratio is sensitive to the metabolic adaptability of breast cancer cells with high metastatic potential and could potentially be used to measure dynamic functional changes that are indicative of invasive or metastatic potential.

Keywords: (170.1530) Cell analysis; (170.2520) Fluorescence microscopy; (170.2655) Functional monitoring and imaging.