Viability Assessment Following Anticancer Treatment Requires Single-Cell Visualization.
Cancers (Basel). 2018 Aug 01;10(8):
Authors: Mirzayans R, Andrais B, Murray D
A subset of cells within solid tumors become highly enlarged and enter a state of dormancy (sustained proliferation arrest) in response to anticancer treatment. Although dormant cancer cells might be scored as “dead” in conventional preclinical assays, they remain viable, secrete growth-promoting factors, and can give rise to progeny with stem cell-like properties. Furthermore, cancer cells exhibiting features of apoptosis (e.g., caspase-3 activation) following genotoxic stress can undergo a reversal process called anastasis and survive. Consistent with these observations, single-cell analysis of adherent cultures (solid tumor-derived cell lines with differing p53 status) has demonstrated that virtually all cells-irrespective of their size and morphology-that remain adherent to the culture dish for a long time (weeks) after treatment with anticancer agents exhibit the ability to metabolize 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl- tetrazolium bromide (MTT). The purpose of this commentary is to briefly review these findings and discuss the significance of single-cell (versus population averaged) observation methods for assessment of cancer cell viability and metabolic activity.
PMID: 30071623 [PubMed]