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Single-Cell Screening of Tamoxifen Abundance and Effect Using Mass Spectrometry and Raman-Spectroscopy

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journal contribution
posted on 21.01.2019, 00:00 authored by Ahmed Ali, Yasmine Abouleila, Yoshihiro Shimizu, Eiso Hiyama, Tomonobu M. Watanabe, Toshio Yanagida, Arno Germond
Monitoring drug uptake, its metabolism, and response on the single-cell level is invaluable for sustaining drug discovery efforts. In this study, we show the possibility of accessing the information about the aforementioned processes at the single-cell level by monitoring the anticancer drug tamoxifen using live single-cell mass spectrometry (LSC–MS) and Raman spectroscopy. First, we explored whether Raman spectroscopy could be used as a label-free and nondestructive screening technique to identify and predict the drug response at the single-cell level. Then, a subset of the screened cells was isolated and analyzed by LSC–MS to measure tamoxifen and its metabolite, 4-Hydroxytamoxifen (4-OHT) in a highly selective, sensitive, and semiquantitative manner. Our results show the Raman spectral signature changed in response to tamoxifen treatment which allowed us to identify and predict the drug response. Tamoxifen and 4-OHT abundances quantified by LSC–MS suggested some heterogeneity among single-cells. A similar phenomenon was observed in the ratio of metabolized to unmetabolized tamoxifen across single-cells. Moreover, a correlation was found between tamoxifen and its metabolite, suggesting that the drug was up taken and metabolized by the cell. Finally, we found some potential correlations between Raman spectral intensities and tamoxifen abundance, or its metabolism, suggesting a possible relationship between the two signals. This study demonstrates for the first time the potential of using Raman spectroscopy and LSC–MS to investigate pharmacokinetics at the single-cell level.