In vitro radiotherapy and chemotherapy alter migration of brain cancer cells before cell death

Michael Merrick, Michael J. Mimlitz, Catherine Weeder, Haris Akhter, Allie Bray, Andrew Walther, Chisom Nwakama, Joe Bamesberger, Honour Djam, Kaamil Abid, Andrew Ekpenyong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Although radiotherapy and most cancer drugs target the proliferation of cancer cells, it is metastasis, the complex process by which cancer cells spread from the primary tumor to other tissues and organs of the body where they form new tumors, that leads to over 90% of all cancer deaths. Thus, there is an urgent need for anti-metastasis strategies alongside chemotherapy and radiotherapy. An important step in the metastatic cascade is migration. It is the first step in metastasis via local invasion. Here we address the question whether ionizing radiation and/or chemotherapy might inadvertently promote metastasis and/or invasiveness by enhancing cell migration. We used a standard laboratory irradiator, Faxitron CellRad, to irradiate both non-cancer (HCN2 neurons) and cancer cells (T98G glioblastoma) with 2 Gy, 10 Gy and 20 Gy of X-rays. Paclitaxel (5 μM) was used for chemotherapy. We then measured the attachment and migration of the cells using an electric cell substrate impedance sensing device. Both the irradiated HCN2 cells and T98G cells showed significantly (p < 0.01) enhanced migration compared to non-irradiated cells, within the first 20–40 h following irradiation with 20 Gy. Our results suggest that cell migration should be a therapeutic target in anti-metastasis/anti-invasion strategies for improved radiotherapy and chemotherapy outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101071
JournalBiochemistry and Biophysics Reports
StatePublished - Sep 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry


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