The Precise Diagnosis of Cancer Invasion/Metastasis via 2D Laser Ablation Mass Mapping of Metalloproteinase in Primary Cancer Tissue

Xiangchun Zhang, Ru Liu, Qing Yuan, Fuping Gao, Jiaojiao Li, Ya Zhang, Yuliang Zhao, Zhifang Chai, Liang Gao, Xueyun Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Cancer invasion and metastasis remain the major causes of over 90% of patient deaths. Molecular imaging methods such as computed tomography (CT)/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can precisely assess primary regional lymph node invasion and distant organ metastasis via body scanning; however, such diagnostic methods are often utilized too late for cancer therapy. To date, pathologic methods mainly provide information on differentiation/proliferation and potential drug therapy biomarkers of primary tumors rather than precisely reveal tumor regional invasion and distant metastasis in the body. We hypothesized that quantification of membrane type-1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) levels in primary tumor tissue will provide a precise assessment of tumor regional lymph node invasion and remote organ metastasis. In this work, we developed peptide-coated Au clusters with intrinsic red fluorescence and a specific mass signal. When these clusters labeled MT1-MMP in tumor tissue sections derived from the xenograft lung carcinoma model, human lung carcinoma and human renal carcinoma, we could directly observe MT1-MMP via optical fluorescence microscopy and quantitatively detect the MT1-MMP expression level via laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry 2D mapping (2D-LA-Mass Mapping). By observing and quantifying the MT1-MMP expression level in primary human lung carcinoma and human renal carcinoma tissue sections, we precisely assessed the risk of primary tumor invasion/metastasis. Importantly, the accuracy of this pathologic method was verified by CT/MRI molecular imaging of cancer patients and traditional hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining/immunohistochemistry (IHC)/immunofluorescence (IF) pathologic studies of primary tumor tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11139-11151
Number of pages13
JournalACS Nano
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 27 2018


  • 2D-LA-Mass Mapping
  • Au clusters
  • MT1-MMP
  • lung carcinoma
  • primary tumor invasion/metastasis
  • renal carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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