Unveiling breast cancer metastasis through an advanced X-ray imaging approach
Journal article, 2024

Breast cancer is a significant global health burden, causing a substantial number of deaths. Systemic metastatic tumour cell dissemination is a major cause of poor outcomes. Understanding the mechanisms underlying metastasis is crucial for effective interventions. Changes in the extracellular matrix play a pivotal role in breast cancer metastasis. In this work, we present an advanced multimodal X-ray computed tomography, by combining Small-angle X-ray Scattering Tensor Tomography (SAXS-TT) and X-ray Fluorescence Computed Tomography (XRF-CT). This approach likely brings out valuable information about the breast cancer metastasis cascade. Initial results from its application on a breast cancer specimen reveal the collective influence of key molecules in the metastatic mechanism, identifying a strong correlation between zinc accumulation (associated with matrix metalloproteinases MMPs) and highly oriented collagen. MMPs trigger collagen alignment, facilitating breast cancer cell intravasation, while iron accumulation, linked to angiogenesis and vascular endothelial growth factor VEGF, supports cell proliferation and metastasis. Therefore, these findings highlight the potential of the advanced multimodal X-ray computed tomography approach and pave the way for in-depth investigation of breast cancer metastasis, which may guide the development of novel therapeutic approaches and enable personalised treatment strategies, ultimately improving patient outcomes in breast cancer management.


Andre L.C. Conceição

Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY)

Volkmar Müller

Universitatsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf und Medizinische Fakultat

Eike Christian Burandt

Universitatsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf und Medizinische Fakultat

Malte Mohme

Universitatsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf und Medizinische Fakultat

Leonard Nielsen

Chalmers, Physics, Materials Physics

Marianne Liebi

Paul Scherrer Institut

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL)

Chalmers, Physics, Materials Physics

S. Haas

Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY)

Scientific Reports

2045-2322 (ISSN) 20452322 (eISSN)

Vol. 14 1 1448

Subject Categories

Cancer and Oncology





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