Investigation of Surface Adhesion of MCF-7 Cells in 3D Printed PET and PLA Tissue Scaffold Models

Keywords: breast cancer, MCF-7, PLA, PET, 3D Scaffold, cell culture


Tissue scaffolds with a wide range of applications are usually rigid structures made of polymeric materials. Biocompatibility and biodegradability are important properties for scaffold materials to possess, ensuring they support for cell growth and are extremely useful in in vitro three dimensional (3D) cell cultures.

Cancer is a disease caused by mutations or abnormal changes in genes responsible for regulating the growth of cells and keeping them healthy. Breast cancer is the most common type of invasive cancer and the second cause of cancer death among women.

Two-dimensional (2D) cell cultures have helped to attain important knowledge about cell biology and biochemistry. However, they  are not suitable for clinical use. 2D in vitro studies do not provide the desired success in in vivo applications. The formation of the tumor microenvironment is challenging.

Tissue scaffolds are 3D cell culture systems that eliminate this problem with breast cancer cell culture. Cell culture models with 3D tissue scaffold are thought to be more successful in representing in vivo. The main objective of this study was to produce biocompatible and suitable porosity scaffolds from polylactic acid (PLA) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) materials, which enables MCF-7 breast cancer cells to proliferate in three dimensions.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polylactic acid (PLA) are biocompatible, non-toxic dye-free polymers and are used for the production of scaffolds that are rigid structures suitable for 3D cancer cell culture. A custom 3D printer and 1.75 mm PET and PLA filaments were used for the production of tissue scaffolds. Tissue scaffolds are produced with two different filling rates (20% and 40%). The design and production parameters of the scaffolds are defined and optimized by SolidWorks and Slic3r softwares to set the correct printing procedure. Biomechanical tests for mechanical characterization of all scaffolds were performed. MCF-7 breast cancer cell line was used to evaluate tissue scaffolds for 3D cell culture. The ability of the cells to adhere to the scaffold surface was determined by crystal violet fixation and staining method used to detect viable cells. 3D cell culture with PET and PLA tissue scaffolds is useful to improve cancer cell culture applications and enhance cell proliferation. 3D tissue scaffolds have shown that MCF-7 cells are more compatible with surface adhesion than 2D cultures.

As a result, the data obtained show that porous PET and PLA tissue scaffolds are supportive for the 3D culture and proliferation of MCF-7 breast cancer cells by providing a micro-environment in vivo mimic.