Longitudinal, label-free, quantitative tracking of cell death and viability in a 3D tumor model with OCT.

Date Published:



Three-dimensional in vitro tumor models are highly useful tools for studying tumor growth and treatment response of malignancies such as ovarian cancer. Existing viability and treatment assessment assays, however, face shortcomings when applied to these large, complex, and heterogeneous culture systems. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a noninvasive, label-free, optical imaging technique that can visualize live cells and tissues over time with subcellular resolution and millimeters of optical penetration depth. Here, we show that OCT is capable of carrying out high-content, longitudinal assays of 3D culture treatment response. We demonstrate the usage and capability of OCT for the dynamic monitoring of individual and combination therapeutic regimens in vitro, including both chemotherapy drugs and photodynamic therapy (PDT) for ovarian cancer. OCT was validated against the standard LIVE/DEAD Viability/Cytotoxicity Assay in small tumor spheroid cultures, showing excellent correlation with existing standards. Importantly, OCT was shown to be capable of evaluating 3D spheroid treatment response even when traditional viability assays failed. OCT 3D viability imaging revealed synergy between PDT and the standard-of-care chemotherapeutic carboplatin that evolved over time. We believe the efficacy and accuracy of OCT in vitro drug screening will greatly contribute to the field of cancer treatment and therapy evaluation.