Rapid assessment of drug response in cancer cells using microwell array and molecular imaging

Min S. Wang, Zhen Luo, Nitin Nitin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Selection of personalized chemotherapy regimen for individual patients has significant potential to improve chemotherapy efficacy and to reduce the deleterious effects of ineffective chemotherapy drugs. In this study, a rapid and high-throughput in vitro drug response assay was developed using a combination of microwell array and molecular imaging. The microwell array provided high-throughput analysis of drug response, which was quantified based on the reduction in intracellular uptake (2-[N-(7-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazol-4- yl)amino]-2-deoxy-d-glucose) (2-NBDG). Using this synergistic approach, the drug response measurement was completed within 4 h, and only a couple thousand cells were needed for quantification. The broader application of this microwell molecular imaging approach was demonstrated by evaluating the drug response of two cancer cell lines, cervical (HeLa) and bladder (5637) cancer cells, to two distinct classes of chemotherapy drugs (cisplatin and paclitaxel). This approach did not require an extended cell culturing period, and the quantification of cellular drug response was 4-16 times faster compared with other cell-microarray drug response studies. Moreover, this molecular imaging approach had comparable sensitivity to traditional cell viability assays, i.e., the MTT assay and propidium iodide labeling of cellular nuclei;and similar throughput results as flow cytometry using only 1,000-2,000 cells. Given the simplicity and robustness of this microwell molecular imaging approach, it is anticipated that the assay can be adapted to quantify drug responses in a wide range of cancer cells and drugs and translated to clinical settings for a rapid in vitro drug response using clinically isolated samples. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4195-4206
Number of pages12
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number17
StatePublished - 2014


  • 2-NBDG
  • Cancer
  • Drug response
  • High throughput
  • Microwell array
  • Molecular imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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