Biomechanical and Biophysical Properties of Breast Cancer Cells Under Varying Glycemic Regimens

Diganta Dutta, Xavier Lewis Palmer, Jose Ortega-Rodas, Vasundhara Balraj, Indrani Ghosh Dastider, Surabhi Chandra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Diabetes accelerates cancer cell proliferation and metastasis, particularly for cancers of the pancreas, liver, breast, colon, and skin. While pathways linking the 2 disease conditions have been explored extensively, there is a lack of information on whether there could be cytoarchitectural changes induced by glucose which predispose cancer cells to aggressive phenotypes. It was thus hypothesized that exposure to diabetes/high glucose alters the biomechanical and biophysical properties of cancer cells more than the normal cells, which aids in advancing the cancer. For this study, atomic force microscopy indentation was used through microscale probing of multiple human breast cancer cells (MCF-7, MDA-MB-231), and human normal mammary epithelial cells (MCF-10A), under different levels of glycemic stress. These were used to study both benign and malignant breast tissue behaviors. Benign cells (MCF-10A) recorded higher Young’s modulus values than malignant cells (MCF-7 and MDA-231) under normoglycemic conditions, which agrees with the current literature. Moreover, exposure to high glucose (for 48 hours) decreased Young’s modulus in both benign and malignant cells, to the effect that the cancer cells showed a complete loss in elasticity with high glucose. This provides a possible insight into a link between glycemic stress and cytoskeletal strength. This work suggests that reducing glycemic stress in cancer patients and those at risk can prove beneficial in restoring normal cytoskeletal structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBreast Cancer: Basic and Clinical Research
StatePublished - 2020


  • AFM
  • biomechanical and biophysical properties
  • breast cancer cells
  • diabetes
  • young’s modulus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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