Chemosensory Evaluation of Prostate Cancer Cells

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Virginia Tech


Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed disease and second most commonly caused death among men in America. Although much controversy surrounds the current methods of detection, PSA test and biopsy, no new methods have been approved as an effective method of detection. Biomarkers and non-invasive means of detection are being investigated everyday in hopes of discovering new information that could be of use in the prostate cancer field.

One such non-invasive technology is the use of an electronic nose. The electronic nose technology has been utilized in the agricultural, food, biomedical, and environmental. The objective of this current study is to determine the effectiveness of the electronic nose to discriminate between prostate cancer cells (DU-145 and PC-3) and non-tumor forming cells from the urinary tract (SVHUC). Specific factors that will be investigated are incubation period and cell population.

For all three cell lines, two cell populations of 75,000 and 150,000 cells were cultured and tested after 2, 8, 12, and 24 hours using a conducting polymer based hand-held electronic nose. Multivariate analysis was performed on the data and determined that the greatest discrimination between incubation periods was between 2 hours of incubation and the remaining periods of 8, 12, and 24 hour periods. This presents the idea that by 8 hours, ample volatiles were produced to be detected by the electronic nose. Additionally, when compared to one another, all three cell lines showed distinct differences. The cell lines most closely related were PC-3 and DU-145, the prostate cancer cell lines. However some variation was seen between these cell lines, which may be attributed to the presence of PSA in PC-3 cells or other factors affecting prostate cancer patients. Finally, PCA plots clearly illustrated that after 2 hours of incubation, sufficient volatiles were produced to allow the electronic nose to clearly discriminate the three cell lines from one another, demonstrating the importance of incubation period on successful discrimination.

Based on the findings that the electronic nose was effective at discriminating the three cell lines, testing was completed to determine if cell population or cell maturity had the greatest effect on discrimination. The cell lines were cultured and tested immediately using an initial cell population of the highest cell population observed after a 72 hour incubation period. The results concluded that when the cell lines were tested immediately after culturing, the Cyranose was able to detect the individual cell lines in culture while also determining a range of detection for each cell line. The range of detection for DU-145 was found to be 26,200 to 262,000 cells based on interclass m-distances of 6.829-9.170 for cell populations lower than 26,200. A range of detection of 51,400 to 514,000 cells was concluded for PC-3 cells based on interclass m-distances of 5.690-7.400 for cell populations lower than 51,400. Finally, the results showed a range of detection of 19,000 to 190,000 cells for SVHUC based on interclass m-distances of 5.520-9.076 for cell populations lower than 19,000. However, when attempting to discriminate the three cell lines against one another immediately after culture, the electronic nose was unable to make clear distinctions between the three cell lines. When testing cancerous and non-cancerous cells, incubation period of the cells should be the only factor considered. It is evident that the cells need time to metabolize and produce volatiles so that the electronic nose can clearly distinguish these cells from one another in culture.



electronic nose, prostate cancer, in-vitro detection, non-invasive testing