Boothby, C.D., Daniel, J., Adam, S. et al. In Vitro Cell Dev Biol (1989) 25: 946. doi:10.1007/BF02624008
Increasing use is being made of tumor cell lines cultured as cell aggregates (generally referred to as multicellular spheroids) in in vitro radiosensitivity and/or chemosensitivity tests. Conventional procedures for the determination of mean spheroid diameters for the construction of growth delay curves employ a microscope-image analyzer. However, this approach can prove excessively time consuming when large numbers of samples have to be, measured. We have, therefore, been exploring the use of a Laser Diffraction Particle Sizer, the Malvern 2600 long bench model, for the measurement of mean spheroid diameter and size distribution. We report here a direct comparison between measurements carried out by the instrument and under the microscope. Also a comparison of growth curves for six cell lines constructed from measurements by the microscope and by the instrument. A number of factors that might affect the accuracy of spheroid diameter measurement by the instrument have been investigated: The effect of stirring to maintain the spheroids in suspension during measurement. Sampling error due to removal of a series of spheroid samples from culture flasks for measurement. Optimum number of scans to be carried out by the instrument to reach a constant value for mean diameter, and minimum SE of the mean.