Tumor cells that disseminate from the primary tumor and survive the vascular system can eventually extravasate across the endothelium to metastasize at a secondary site. In this study, we developed a microfluidic system to mimic tumor cell extravasation where cancer cells can transmigrate across an endothelial monolayer into a hydrogel that models the extracellular space. The experimental protocol is optimized to ensure the formation of an intact endothelium prior to the introduction of tumor cells and also to observe tumor cell extravasation by having a suitable tumor seeding density. Extravasation is observed for 38.8% of the tumor cells in contact with the endothelium within 1 day after their introduction. Permeability of the EC monolayer as measured by the diffusion of fluorescently-labeled dextran across the monolayer increased 3.8 fold 24 hours after introducing tumor cells, suggesting that the presence of tumor cells increases endothelial permeability. The percent of tumor cells extravasated remained nearly constant from1 to 3 days after tumor seeding, indicating extravasation in our system generally occurs within the first 24 hours of tumor cell contact with the endothelium.
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