Electrical cell-substrate impedance sensing for measuring cellular transformation, migration, invasion, and anticancer compound screening

Document Type


Publication Date



Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


The first step in cancer development is the transformation of a primary cell into an immortalized state. Characteristics of a transformed cell include increased proliferation, loss of contact inhibition and attachment, and the ability to form tumors in mice. Electrical cell substrate impedance sensing (ECIS) is the measurement of resistance and reactance across an electrode containing the growing cells. As they grow, the characteristics of transformed cells can be evaluated including migration and invasion. This chapter will review the current uses of ECIS and speculate on its future uses in cancer biology. ECIS has allowed the experimental evaluation of compounds that induce cellular transformation (i.e. potential carcinogens) and individual pathways involved in aspects of cellular transformation. Also explored is the possibility of using ECIS as a high throughput screen of anti-cancer compounds. In the future, ECIS could be used to evaluate "personalized" anticancer treatments where anticancer compounds are tested on an individual's cancer cells in order to design personalized anti-proliferation or anti-metastasis treatments.

Publisher's Statement

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-4927-6_4

Publication Title

Cancer Metastasis - Biology and Treatment