Markus Wehland

Dexamethasone Inhibits Spheroid Formation of Thyroid Cancer Cells Exposed to Simulated Microgravity

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


  • Daniela Melnik, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg
  • ,
  • Jayashree Sahana
  • Thomas J Corydon
  • Sascha Kopp, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg
  • ,
  • Mohamed Zakaria Nassef, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg
  • ,
  • Markus Wehland
  • Manfred Infanger, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg
  • ,
  • Daniela Grimm
  • Marcus Krüger, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg

Detachment and the formation of spheroids under microgravity conditions can be observed with various types of intrinsically adherent human cells. In particular, for cancer cells this process mimics metastasis and may provide insights into cancer biology and progression that can be used to identify new drug/target combinations for future therapies. By using the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone (DEX), we were able to suppress spheroid formation in a culture of follicular thyroid cancer (FTC)-133 cells that were exposed to altered gravity conditions on a random positioning machine. DEX inhibited the growth of three-dimensional cell aggregates in a dose-dependent manner. In the first approach, we analyzed the expression of several factors that are known to be involved in key processes of cancer progression such as autocrine signaling, proliferation, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and anoikis. Wnt/β-catenin signaling and expression patterns of important genes in cancer cell growth and survival, which were further suggested to play a role in three-dimensional aggregation, such as NFKB2, VEGFA, CTGF, CAV1, BCL2(L1), or SNAI1, were clearly affected by DEX. Our data suggest the presence of a more complex regulation network of tumor spheroid formation involving additional signal pathways or individual key players that are also influenced by DEX.

Original languageEnglish
Article number367
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • 3D growth, ANCHORAGE-INDEPENDENT GROWTH, E-CADHERIN, EPITHELIAL-MESENCHYMAL TRANSITION, EXTRACELLULAR-MATRIX, FACTOR-BETA, GENE-EXPRESSION, KAPPA-B, LUNG-CANCER, MULTICELLULAR TUMOR, PROSTATE-CANCER, anoikis, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, glucocorticoids, nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B-cells (NF-kappa B), proliferation

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