To investigate the transition from non-cancerous to metastatic from a physical sciences perspective, the Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers (PS-OC) Network performed molecular and biophysical comparative studies of the non-tumorigenic MCF-10A and metastatic MDA-MB-231 breast epithelial cell lines, commonly used as models of cancer metastasis. Experiments were performed in 20 laboratories from 12 PS-OCs. Each laboratory was supplied with identical aliquots and common reagents and culture protocols. Analyses of these measurements revealed dramatic differences in their mechanics, migration, adhesion, oxygen response, and proteomic profiles. Model-based multi-omics approaches identified key differences between these cells' regulatory networks involved in morphology and survival. These results provide a multifaceted description of cellular parameters of two widely used cell lines and demonstrate the value of the PS-OC Network approach for integration of diverse experimental observations to elucidate the phenotypes associated with cancer metastasis.
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