Copper (Cu) is an essential transition metal ion that acts as a cofactor in many key enzymes. Cu is also needed for several hallmarks of cancer, and many copper-binding proteins are upregulated in various cancers. However, Cu-dependent cellular mechanisms and molecular pathways involved in cancer progression are not known. Fundamental to a better understanding of such phenomena is the investigation of the Cu subcellular distribution in cancer cells. The authors here show that Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry combined with delayed extraction can be successfully applied to probe Cu localization in fixed MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells providing subcellular resolution. Interestingly, the authors find Cu to be accumulated at nuclear regions of the cancer cells.

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See supplementary material at https://doi.org/10.1116/1.5053814 for ToF-SIMS mass spectra, representative atomic force microscopy (AFM) image and additional accumulated 3D imaging data.

Supplementary Material

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