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The Relevance of Ultrastructural Studies of Metastatic Cells from Women with Breast Cancer History

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 November 2021

Isabela Delfino Moreira
PPG Health Sciences, Universidade Federal de Ciências da Saúde de Porto Alegre (UFCSPA), 245 Sarmento Leite St, Porto Alegre, RS90050-170, Brazil
André Peres
POALAB, Instituto Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (IFRS), 281 Cel. Vicente St, Porto Alegre, RS90030-041, Brazil
Ariane Campos
Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), University City Zeferino Vaz, Campinas, SP13083-970, Brazil
Claudia Giuliano Bica
Department of Basic Health Sciences, UFCSPA, 245 Sarmento Leite St, Porto Alegre, RS90050-170, Brazil
Giovana Tavares dos Santos
Department of Social Responsibility – PROADI, Hospital Moinhos de Vento (HMV), 910 Ramiro Barcelos St, Porto Alegre, RS90035-000, Brazil
João Carlos Prolla
Cytopathology Unit, Irmandade da Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Porto Alegre (ISCMPA), 75 Independência Ave, Porto Alegre, RS90035-072, Brazil
Lauren Arrusul Carús
Laboratory on Innovation, Prototyping, Creative and Inclusive Education (LIPECIN), UFCSPA, 245 Sarmento Leite St, Porto Alegre, RS90050-170, Brazil
Mariana Simões Ferreira
Modeling and Molecular Dynamics Laboratory (LMDM), Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho (IBCCF), 373 Carlos Chagas Filho Av, Rio de Janeiro, RJ21941-902, Brazil
Marilda da Cruz Fernandes
Department of Basic Health Sciences, UFCSPA, 245 Sarmento Leite St, Porto Alegre, RS90050-170, Brazil
Naiane Carlesso Bassani
PPG Health Sciences, Universidade Federal de Ciências da Saúde de Porto Alegre (UFCSPA), 245 Sarmento Leite St, Porto Alegre, RS90050-170, Brazil
Gisele Orlandi Introíni*
Laboratory on Innovation, Prototyping, Creative and Inclusive Education (LIPECIN), UFCSPA, 245 Sarmento Leite St, Porto Alegre, RS90050-170, Brazil
*Corresponding author: Gisele Orlandi Introíni, E-mail:
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The interaction between cancer cells and the surrounding microenvironment is determinant for metastasis success. In this study, the ultrastructural relevance of cells in the malignant pleural effusion (MPE) of women with breast cancer history was investigated. In MPE, it is possible to observe single cells and clusters. Women whose MPE presents carcinomas in aggregates have a better prognosis when compared to cases in which metastatic single cells are found. Samples were collected via fine-needle aspiration puncture (US-FNA). Subsequent to the material preparation and ultrathin cuts, they were observed using light and transmission electron microscopy (LM/TEM). LM and TEM images served as a basis for the creation of a digital sculpture using ZBrush® software. Clusters exhibited structural stability, en route vesicles allowing exocytosis of electron-dense fibrous elements, and cytoplasmic protrusions contributing to migratory and invasive skills. Single cells presented different necrotic phenotypes and many displayed leukocyte-like characteristics. Cluster cooperative relationships seem to be related to a long-term permanence in MPE. The absence of a collaborative network presumably triggers a more aggressive behavior of single cells. Its putative fusion with leukocytes can maximize the efficiency for transendothelial migration, increasing chances of metastatic success and, unfortunately, reducing survival of women with recidivism.

Biological Applications
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Microscopy Society of America

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