3D Correlation between nanostructure and local composition variation in human breast cancer

by Andre Conceição (DESY)




Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women worldwide [1]. Systemic changes in the elemental composition of the microenvironment between the cancer cells and the host stroma play an important role in supporting the growth and progression of the tumor [2]. Excessive accumulation of the trace elements Fe, Zn and Cu [3] and its relationship with the matrix of the tumor microenvironment remodeling has been reported [4]. Although the knowledge of breast carcinogenesis is being progressively elucidated with 2D cell-culture experiments, they are not able to reproduce the real physiological pattern of the tumor microenvironment where the surroundings cells are equally as important as the tumor cell itself. X-ray fluorescence (XRF) has been successfully exploited to detected trace elements in breast tissues [3], nevertheless, this technique is not sensitive to light elements such as carbon and oxygen, the major constituents of the breast tissues matrix. This information can be complemented by using the Rayleigh-to-Compton ratio technique (R/C) [5]. Likewise, the microenvironment remodeling comprises collagen fibrils rearrangements which can be investigated by Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) [6]. 

At this presentation it will be showed the results of a pilot test exploiting the complementarity of the X-ray scattering and spectroscopy signals tomographically acquired, to map three-dimensionally the changes due to cancer progression.