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TASI: A Software Tool For Spatial-temporal Quantification Of Tumor Spheroid Dynamics

Yue Hou, Jessica Konen, Daniel J Brat, Adam I. Marcus, Lee Cooper

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ABSTRACTSpheroid cultures derived from explanted cancer specimens are an increasingly utilized resource for studying complex biological processes like tumor cell invasion and metastasis, representing an important bridge between the simplicity and practicality of 2D monolayer cultures and the complexity and realism of in vivo animal models. Temporal imaging of spheroids can capture the dynamics of cell behaviors and microenvironments, and when combined with quantitative image analysis methods, enables deep interrogation of biological mechanisms. This paper presents a comprehensive open-source software framework for Temporal Analysis of Spheroid Imaging (TASI) that allows investigators to objectively characterize spheroid growth and invasion dynamics. TASI performs spatiotemporal segmentation of spheroid cultures, extraction of features describing spheroid morpho-phenotypes, mathematical modeling of spheroid dynamics, and statistical comparisons of experimental conditions. We demonstrate the utility of this tool in an analysis of non-small cell lung cancer spheroids that exhibit variability in metastatic and proliferative behaviors.