Researchers report alteration of cancer cells’ biomechanics and biophysical properties induced by the standard chemotherapeutic drugs using atomic force microscopy-based, time-traced imaging and force spectroscopy measurements. The researchers provide new information about the interplay between hypoxia and chemotherapeutic drugs.
Stiffness kinetics depends on type of the drug, exposure time to the drug, and oxygen levels in the microenvironments, while the stiffness of untreated cancer cells remain consistent in both normoxia and hypoxia. In addition, such changes in the stiffness due to either disruption or reinforcement of cytoskeletal structure induced by the drug were coupled with substantial alteration in cellular morphology, surface roughness, and cytoadhesion.
Although the drug treatment alone significantly affects the cellular stiffness, the efficacy can be dampened by drug resistance due to the hypoxia, emphasizing the complex underpinning mechanisms that govern overall biomechanics and biophysical properties.