Despite of the recent year's important advances in breast cancer biology, there is a continuous demand for new
microscopic studies able to provide complementary information on cell shape that is an essential feature of the tumour
cells affecting their proliferation and spreading. Understanding the relationship between cell shape and cellular function
is important for regulation of cell phenotype modification in particular during cancerogenesis.
Utilizing a multitechnique approach, we have investigated the morphological differences of normal human mammalian
epithelial cells (HMEC) and cancerous breast epithelial cells (MCF7) cells, both mammalian epithelial cells, but from
the same cell type, allowing us to compare them. The goal of our investigation was to combine information on
morphological properties of these cells provided by imaging techniques like atomic force microscopy (AFM), brightfield
microscopy with in-depth images of microtubules via the multiphoton microscopy (MPM).
Cells morphology studies for both cells' types were first carried out using the contact mode AFM which has
gained great potential for studying biological systems. Brightfield optical imaging was operated in correlation with the
AFM measurements. Topography analyses were performed for living cells as well as fixed ones for both MCF7 and
HMEC 184 A1 cells. Living cancerous cells are much softer than normal ones, smaller in shape, and more difficult to
Photonic responses of fixed cells have been then evaluated by the multiphoton microscopy. Due to light's good
penetration depth (IR excitation) in biological samples, MPM has already proved to be a reliable and powerful tool in
medical and biological deep tissue imaging. Moreover, MPM provides useful three-dimensional information on the
structural and optical properties of the specimen due to its intrinsic optical sectioning resolution.
Combination of these microscopic techniques allows us to correlate external cell morphology, with in-depth
images provided by the non-linear optical response of microtubules. Understanding cytoskeletal perturbations and
particularly, organization of the microtubules can help us to comprehend biological processes in cancer.