Optical-mechanical signatures of cancer cells based on fluctuation profiles measured by interferometry



We propose to establish a cancer biomarker based on the unique optical-mechanical signatures of cancer cells measured in a noncontact, label-free manner by optical interferometry. Using wide-field interferometric phase microscopy (IPM), implemented by a portable, off-axis, common-path and low-coherence interferometric module, we quantitatively measured the time-dependent, nanometer-scale optical thickness fluctuation maps of live cells in vitro. We found that cancer cells fluctuate significantly more than healthy cells, and that metastatic cancer cells fluctuate significantly more than primary cancer cells. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) measurements validated the results. Our study shows the potential of IPM as a simple clinical tool for aiding in diagnosis and monitoring of cancer. (© 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)