BioScience Trends. 2014;8(4):212-216. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2014.01090)

Migration of breast cancer cells into reconstituted type I collagen gels assessed via a combination of frozen sectioning and azan staining.

Fukuda K, Kamoshida Y, Kurokawa T, Yoshida M, Fujita-Yamaguchi Y, Nakata M


This study sought to devise a way to assess the infiltration of cancer cells in model stromal tissues. Human breast carcinoma MDA-MB-231 cells were loaded on the surface of a type I collagen gel in the well of 8-well chamber slide and allowed to migrate into the gel. The gel was then subjected to frozen sectioning and staining. Azan staining facilitated satisfactory microscopic observation of cancer cells migrating into the collagen gel. Cell migration was promoted by the presence of fetal calf serum in the gel. In contrast, the proportion of cells remaining on the gel surface increased in the presence of galardin, a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor. Moreover, the distance of cell migration from the gel surface was significantly shorter depending on the concentration of galardin. Observation of cancer cell migration into reconstituted type I collagen gel with a combination of frozen sectioning and azan staining is a useful way to assess the ability of individual cancer cells to migrate and to evaluate how effectively pharmaceuticals inhibit the first step of invasion.

KEYWORDS: Cancer cell invasion, type I collagen, frozen section, azan stain, galardin

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