Mechanical and structural comparison between primary tumor and lymph node metastasis cells in colorectal cancer
SW480 and SW620 colon carcinoma cell lines derive from primary tumour and lymph-node metastasis of the same patient, respectively. For this reason, these cells represent an ideal system to analyse phenotypic variations associated with the metastatic process. In this study we analysed SW480 and SW620 cytoskeleton remodelling by measuring the cells' mechanics and morphological properties using different microscopic techniques. We observed that different specialized functions of cells, i.e. the capacity to metastasize of elongated cells inside the primary tumour and the ability to intravasate and resist shear forces of the stream of cells derived from lymph node metastasis, are reflected in their mechanical properties. We demonstrated that, together with stiffness and adhesion between the AFM tip and the cell surface, cell shape, actin organization and surface roughness are strictly related and are finely modulated by colorectal cancer cells to better accomplish their specific tasks in cancer growth and invasion.