Format

Send to

Choose Destination
New J Phys. 2015 Mar 10;17(3). pii: 033019.

Emerging of fractal geometry on surface of human cervical epithelial cells during progression towards cancer.

Author information

1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA.
2
Department of Physics, Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York 13699-5820, USA.
3
Department of Biology, Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York 13699-5820, USA.
4
Department of Physics, Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York 13699-5820, USA ; Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA ; Department of Physics, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA.

Abstract

Despite considerable advances in understanding the molecular nature of cancer, many biophysical aspects of malignant development are still unclear. Here we study physical alterations of the surface of human cervical epithelial cells during stepwise in vitro development of cancer (from normal to immortal (premalignant), to malignant). We use atomic force microscopy to demonstrate that development of cancer is associated with emergence of simple fractal geometry on the cell surface. Contrary to the previously expected correlation between cancer and fractals, we find that fractal geometry occurs only at a limited period of development when immortal cells become cancerous; further cancer progression demonstrates deviation from fractal. Because of the connection between fractal behaviour and chaos (or far from equilibrium behaviour), these results suggest that chaotic behaviour coincides with the cancer transformation of the immortalization stage of cancer development, whereas further cancer progression recovers determinism of processes responsible for cell surface formation.

KEYWORDS:

cell biophysics; fractals; physics of cancer

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center