, Volume 403, Issue 3, pp 745-753,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 08 Mar 2012

A study of Docetaxel-induced effects in MCF-7 cells by means of Raman microspectroscopy


Chemotherapies feature a low success rate of about 25%, and therefore, the choice of the most effective cytostatic drug for the individual patient and monitoring the efficiency of an ongoing chemotherapy are important steps towards personalized therapy. Thereby, an objective method able to differentiate between treated and untreated cancer cells would be essential. In this study, we provide molecular insights into Docetaxel-induced effects in MCF-7 cells, as a model system for adenocarcinoma, by means of Raman microspectroscopy combined with powerful chemometric methods. The analysis of the Raman data is divided into two steps. In the first part, the morphology of cell organelles, e.g. the cell nucleus has been visualized by analysing the Raman spectra with k-means cluster analysis and artificial neural networks and compared to the histopathologic gold standard method hematoxylin and eosin staining. This comparison showed that Raman microscopy is capable of displaying the cell morphology; however, this is in contrast to hematoxylin and eosin staining label free and can therefore be applied potentially in vivo. Because Docetaxel is a drug acting within the cell nucleus, Raman spectra originating from the cell nucleus region were further investigated in a next step. Thereby we were able to differentiate treated from untreated MCF-7 cells and to quantify the cell–drug response by utilizing linear discriminant analysis models.


Raman microspectroscopy in combination with powerful chemometric methods (e.g. artificial neural networks) indicates morphological (nucleus fragmentation) and spectral changes in Docetaxel treated breast cancer cells (MCF-7) in comparison to untreated cell samples

This document is a collaborative effort of Melanie Becker-Putsche and Katharina Hartmann and they contributed equally to the presented work.