Label-free in vitro prostate cancer cell detection via photonic-crystal biosensor

Frank Deluna, Xiaofei Ding, Ismael Sagredo, Gilbert Bustamante, Lu Zhe Sun, Jing Yong Ye

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) biomarker assays are the current clinical method for mass screening of prostate cancer. However, high false-positive rates are often reported due to PSA's low specificity, leading to an urgent need for the development of a more specific detection system independent of PSA levels. In our previous research, we demonstrated the feasibility of using cellular refractive indices (RI) as a unique contrast parameter to accomplish label-free detection of prostate cancer cells via variance testing, but were unable to determine if a specific cell was cancerous or noncancerous. In this paper, we report the use of our Photonic-Crystal biosensor in a Total-Internal-Reflection (PC-TIR) configuration to construct a label-free imaging system, which allows for the detection of individual prostate cancer cells utilizing cellular RI as the only contrast parameter. Noncancerous prostate (BPH-1) cells and prostate cancer (PC-3) cells were mixed at varied ratios and measured concurrently. Additionally, we isolated and induced PC-3 cells to undergo epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) by exposing these cells to soluble factors such as TGF-β1. The biophysical characteristics of the cellular RI were quantified extensively in comparison to non-induced PC-3 cells as well as BPH-1 cells. EMT is a crucial mechanism for the invasion and metastasis of epithelial tumors characterized by the loss of cell-cell adhesion and increased cell mobility. Our study shows promising clinical potential in utilizing the PC-TIR biosensor imaging system to not only detect prostate cancer cells, but also evaluate prostate cancer progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiophysics, Biology and Biophotonics III
Subtitle of host publicationThe Crossroads
EditorsAdam Wax, Vadim Backman
ISBN (Electronic)9781510614932
StatePublished - 2018
EventBiophysics, Biology and Biophotonics III: The Crossroads 2018 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Jan 28 2018Jan 28 2018

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherBiophysics, Biology and Biophotonics III: The Crossroads 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • Cancer Diagnosis
  • Cellular Refractive Index (RI)
  • Label-Free Imaging
  • Optical Biosensors
  • Photonic Crystal Biosensor
  • Prostate Cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Biomaterials


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