Modulating malignant epithelial tumor cell adhesion, migration and mechanics with nanorod surfaces
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The failure of tumor stents used for palliative therapy is due in part to the adhesion of tumor cells to the stent surface. It is therefore desirable to develop approaches to weaken the adhesion of malignant tumor cells to surfaces. We have previously developed SiO2 coated nanorods that resist the adhesion of normal endothelial cells and fibroblasts. The adhesion mechanisms in malignant tumor cells are significantly altered from normal cells; therefore, it is unclear if nanorods can similarly resist tumor cell adhesion. In this study, we show that the morphology of tumor epithelial cells cultured on nanorods is rounded compared to flat surfaces and associated with decreased cellular stiffness and non-muscle myosin II phosphorylation. Tumor cell viability and proliferation was unchanged on nanorods. Adherent cell numbers were significantly decreased while single tumor cell motility was increased on nanorods compared to flat surfaces. Together, these results suggest that nanorods can be used to weaken malignant tumor cell adhesion, and therefore potentially improve tumor stent performance.