Multicellular spheroids containing synthetic mineral particles: an advanced 3D tumor model system to investigate breast precancer malignancy potential according to the mineral type

Amit Cohen, Lotem Gotnayer, Sahar Gal, Dina Aranovich, Netta Vidavsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mineral particles that form in soft tissues in association with disease conditions are heterogeneous in their composition and physiochemical properties. Hence, it is challenging to study the effect of mineral type on disease progression in a high-throughput and realistic manner. For example, most early breast precancer lesions, termed ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), contain microcalcifications (MCs), calcium-containing pathological minerals. The most common type of MCs is calcium phosphate crystals, mainly carbonated apatite; it is associated with either benign or malignant lesions. In vitro studies indicate that the crystal properties of apatite MCs can affect breast cancer progression. A less common type of MCs is calcium oxalate dihydrate (COD), which is almost always found in benign lesions. We developed a 3D tumor model of multicellular spheroids of human precancer cells containing synthetic MC analogs that link the crystal properties of MCs with the progression of breast precancer to invasive cancer. Using this 3D model, we show that apatite crystals induce Her2 overexpression in DCIS cells. This tumor-triggering effect is increased when the carbonate fraction in the MCs decreases. COD crystals, in contrast, decrease Her2 expression in the spheroids, even compared with a control group with no added MC analogs. Furthermore, COD decreases cell proliferation and migration in DCIS monolayers compared to untreated cells and cells incubated with apatite crystals. This finding suggests that COD is not randomly located only in benign lesions—it may actively contribute to suppressing precancer progression in its surroundings. Our model provides an easy-to-manipulate platform to better understand the interactions between mineral particles and their biological microenvironment. A better understanding of the effect of the crystal properties of MCs on precancer progression will potentially provide new directions for better precancer prognosis and treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8033-8045
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry B
Volume11
Issue number33
DOIs
StatePublished - 26 Jun 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Biomedical Engineering

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