Staff member

Steffen Kurt Josef Grosser

Staff member publications

Blauth, Eliane, Grosser, Steffen, Sauer, Frank, Merkel, Mario, Kubitschke, Hans, Warmt, Enrico, Morawetz, Erik W, Friedrich, Philip, Wolf, Benjamin, Briest, Susanne, Hiller, Grit Gesine Ruth, Horn, Lars-Christian, Aktas, Bahriye, Kaes, Josef A, (2024). Different contractility modes control cell escape from multicellular spheroids and tumor explants Apl Bioengineering 8, 026110

Cells can adapt their active contractile properties to switch between dynamical migratory states and static homeostasis. Collective tissue surface tension, generated among others by the cortical contractility of single cells, can keep cell clusters compact, while a more bipolar, anisotropic contractility is predominantly used by mesenchymal cells to pull themselves into the extracellular matrix (ECM). Here, we investigate how these two contractility modes relate to cancer cell escape into the ECM. We compare multicellular spheroids from a panel of breast cancer cell lines with primary tumor explants from breast and cervical cancer patients by measuring matrix contraction and cellular spreading into ECM mimicking collagen matrices. Our results in spheroids suggest that tumor aggressiveness is associated with elevated contractile traction and reduced active tissue surface tension, allowing cancer cell escape. We show that it is not a binary switch but rather the interplay between these two contractility modes that is essential during this process. We provide further evidence in patient-derived tumor explants that these two contractility modes impact cancer cells' ability to leave cell clusters within a primary tumor. Our results indicate that cellular contractility is an essential factor during the formation of metastases and thus may be suitable as a prognostic criterion for the assessment of tumor aggressiveness.

JTD Keywords: Breast-cancer, Disease, Emt, Forces, Hypothesis, Intercellular-adhesion, Myoepithelial cell, Stiffness, Wetting transition

Sauer, F, Grosser, S, Shahryari, M, Hayn, A, Guo, J, Braun, J, Briest, S, Wolf, B, Aktas, B, Horn, LC, Sack, I, Käs, JA, (2023). Changes in Tissue Fluidity Predict Tumor Aggressiveness In Vivo Advanced Science 10, e2303523

Cancer progression is caused by genetic changes and associated with various alterations in cell properties, which also affect a tumor's mechanical state. While an increased stiffness has been well known for long for solid tumors, it has limited prognostic power. It is hypothesized that cancer progression is accompanied by tissue fluidization, where portions of the tissue can change position across different length scales. Supported by tabletop magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) on stroma mimicking collagen gels and microscopic analysis of live cells inside patient derived tumor explants, an overview is provided of how cancer associated mechanisms, including cellular unjamming, proliferation, microenvironment composition, and remodeling can alter a tissue's fluidity and stiffness. In vivo, state-of-the-art multifrequency MRE can distinguish tumors from their surrounding host tissue by their rheological fingerprints. Most importantly, a meta-analysis on the currently available clinical studies is conducted and universal trends are identified. The results and conclusions are condensed into a gedankenexperiment about how a tumor can grow and eventually metastasize into its environment from a physics perspective to deduce corresponding mechanical properties. Based on stiffness, fluidity, spatial heterogeneity, and texture of the tumor front a roadmap for a prognosis of a tumor's aggressiveness and metastatic potential is presented.© 2023 The Authors. Advanced Science published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.

JTD Keywords: brain, cancer, cells, collective migration, elastic energy, elastography, in vivo magnetic resonance elastography, invasion, medical imaging, solid stress, tissue fluidity, tumor mechanics, viscoelastic properties, Cancer, Extracellular-matrix, In vivo magnetic resonance elastography, Medical imaging, Tissue fluidity, Tumor mechanics