A Reliable Flow-Based Method for the Accurate Measure of Mass Density, Size and Weight of Live 3D Tumor Spheroids

Domenico Andrea Cristaldi, Azzurra Sargenti, Simone Bonetti, Francesco Musmeci, Cecilia Delprete, Francesco Bacchi, Simone Pasqua, Carola Cavallo, Laura Bonsi, Francesco Alviano, Daniele Gazzola, Spartaco Santi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gathering precise information on mass density, size and weight of cells or cell aggregates, is crucial for applications in many biomedical fields with a specific focus on cancer research. Although few technical solutions have been presented for single-cell analysis, literature does not cover this aspect for 3D models such as spheroids. Since the research interest on such samples is notably rising, here we describe a flow-apparatus, and the associated physical method and operative protocol for the accurate measurements of mass density, size and weight. The technique is based on the detection of the terminal velocity of a free-falling sample into a specifically conceived analysis flow-channel. Moreover, in order to demonstrate the accuracy and precision of the presented flow-device, analyses were initially carried out on standardized polystyrene beads. Finally, to display the application of the proposed system for biological samples, mass density, size and weight of live SW620 tumor spheroids were analyzed. The combined measurements of such parameters can represent a step toward a deeper understanding of 3D culture models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 28 2020


  • 3D cell culture models
  • analytical device
  • flow-reactors
  • mass density
  • multiparametric characterization
  • spheroids


Dive into the research topics of 'A Reliable Flow-Based Method for the Accurate Measure of Mass Density, Size and Weight of Live 3D Tumor Spheroids'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this