An in vitro one-dimensional assay to study growth factor-regulated tumor cell–macrophage interaction

Ved P. Sharma, Brian T. Beaty, Dianne Cox, John S. Condeelis, Robert J. Eddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Growth factor-dependent pairing and motility between tumor cells and tumor-associated macrophages on extracellular matrix (ECM) fibers of the tumor microenvironment have been shown to enhance intravasation and metastatic spread of breast carcinomas. We describe an in vitro motility assay that combines time-lapse wide-field microscopy and micro-patterned linear adhesive substrates to reconstitute the in vivo behavior between macrophages, tumor cells, and ECM fibers in orthotopic rodent tumor models observed by intravital imaging. Commercially available linear stripes of 650 nm dye-labeled fibronectin microlithographed onto glass cover slips are sequentially plated with fluorescently labeled MTLn3 tumor cells and bone marrow-derived macrophages and time-lapse imaged for up to 8 h. Incubation with pharmacological inhibitors during the assay can identify important paracrine or autocrine signaling pathways involved in the macrophage–tumor cell interaction. This high-resolution motility assay will lead to a more detailed description of immune cell–tumor cell behavior as well as interrogating additional cell types within the tumor microenvironment which use cytokine/growth factor paracrine signaling interactions to facilitate intravasation and metastasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
JournalMethods in Molecular Biology
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast carcinoma cells
  • CSF-1
  • EGF
  • Live-cell imaging
  • Macrophage
  • Time-lapse Microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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