Prostate cancer epithelial mesenchymal transition by TGF-β1 exposure monitored with a photonic crystal biosensor

Melissa Cadena, Frank Deluna, Kwaku Baryeh, Lu Zhe Sun, Jing Yong Ye

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


During prostate cancer progression, cancerous epithelial cells can undergo epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). 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. It is associated with biochemical changes such as epithelial cell markers Ecadherin and occludins being down-regulated, and mesenchymal markers vimentin and N-cadherin being upregulated. These changes in protein expression, specifically in the cell membrane, may be monitored via biophysical principles, such as changes in the refractive index (RI) of the cell membrane. In our previous research, we demonstrated the feasibility of using cellular RI as a unique contrast parameter to accomplish label-free detection of prostate cancer cells. 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 biosensing system, which allows for ultra-sensitive quantification of the changes in cellular RI due to EMT. We induced prostate cancer cells to undergo EMT by exposing these cells to soluble Transforming Growth Factor Beta 1 (TGF-β1). The biophysical characteristics of the cellular RI were quantified extensively in comparison to non-induced cancer cells. Our study shows promising clinical potential in utilizing the PC-TIR biosensing system not only to detect prostate cancer cells, but also to evaluate changes in prostate cancer cells due to EMT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLabel-Free Biomedical Imaging and Sensing (LBIS) 2020
EditorsNatan T. Shaked, Oliver Hayden
ISBN (Electronic)9781510632653
StatePublished - 2020
EventLabel-Free Biomedical Imaging and Sensing ,LBIS 2020 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Feb 1 2020Feb 4 2020

Publication series

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


ConferenceLabel-Free Biomedical Imaging and Sensing ,LBIS 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • Cancer Diagnostics
  • Cellular Refractive Index
  • Label-Free Biosensor
  • Optical Biosensor
  • Photonic Crystal Biosensor
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Transforming Growth Factor Beta 1
  • and Epithelial-mesenchymal transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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