Recent advances in microfluidic models for cancer metastasis research

Hui Xu, Xinyao Liu, Weidong Le

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Cancer metastasis is the process of tumour cells invading from the primary tumour site to other tissues or organs in the body, which significantly increases the morbidity and mortality of cancer patients. Conventional approaches to probe cancer metastasis have several limitations: (1) invasion assays based on petri dishes are of low physiological relevance and lack the specific character of the microenvironment; (2) transwell-based transmigration assays are only semi-quantitative; and (3) animal experiments are time-consuming and lack of appropriate controls. To improve these shortcomings, microfluidic devices are developed to investigate the mechanisms of cancer metastasis, which can significantly enhance the physiological relevance and improve real-time quantitative analysis. In this paper, we review recent progress in microfluidic devices used for probing cancer metastasis. We highlight the unique features of the updated microfluidic devices and their broad application to cancer metastasis research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalTrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Cancer metastasis
  • Microenvironment
  • Microfluidics
  • Organ-on-a-chip
  • Three-dimensional

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy


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