The search for new cancer biomarkers is essential for fundamental research, diagnostics, as well as for patient treatment and monitoring. Whereas most cancer biomarkers are biomolecules, an increasing number of studies show that mechanical cues are promising biomarker candidates. Although cell deformability has been shown to be a possible cancer biomarker, cellular forces as cancer biomarkers have been left largely unexplored. Here, we measure traction forces of cancer and normal-like cells at high spatial resolution using a robust method based on dense vertical arrays of nanowires. A force map is created using automated image analysis based on the localization of the fluorescent tips of the nanowires. We show that the force distribution and magnitude differ between MCF7 breast cancer cells and MCF10A normal-like breast epithelial cells, and that monitoring traction forces can be used to investigate the effects of anticancer drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19039-19044
Number of pages6
Issue number48
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 14

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cancer and Oncology
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
  • Other Physics Topics
  • Nano Technology


  • Journal Article


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