Cancer and Glycation--Using Human Tissue Culture Model to Probe the Metabolic Effects of Glycation Flux


Rainey Banick

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Understanding the growth of cancerous tumors versus typical epithelial cells is important in not only detection of cancer but alternative treatments and potential cures. With a greater understanding of tumor conditions, behaviors, and responses there is greater potential to develop alternative treatments. In metastatic breast cancer adenocarcinoma, MDA-MB-231, the examination of both normoxic and hypoxic conditions with cell lines grown in high and low glucose media presents greater insight into the behavior of the cancer cell line. Through the measurement of methylglyoxal, a glycating agent, the effect of hypoxic (0.2% O2) versus normoxic (21% O2) conditions with both high (4.5 g/mL) and low glucose (1 g/mL) medias can be examined. Additionally, the breast epithelial cell line, MCF-10A, under the same conditions can be used to determine a growth curve and methylglyoxal concentration of epithelial cells. Through a series of experiments and control parameters methylglyoxal levels were determined under the various conditions using GC-MS analysis. The methylglyoxal levels were significantly higher in the high glucose hypoxia compared to that of the low glucose hypoxia and the high glucose under normoxia. Likewise, there is an observed difference between cells under the normoxic and hypoxic conditions. The hypoxic cells showed an increased level of methylglyoxal compared to that normoxic cells. Additionally, the growth curve with MCF-10A indicates that epithelial cells exhibit the same growth pattern under normoxic conditions. With better understanding of the characteristics of MDA-MB 231 cancer cells, potential methods of detection, as well as, more targeted treatments can be explored through in vivo detection and targeted cell death.


Dr. John Termini, City of Hope




Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Science Education Grant

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