Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Biomolecular Sciences

First Advisor

Kristine Willett

Relational Format



CM-DiI is a lipophilic, red fluorescent dye used for staining and tracking the migration of cells. CM-DiI makes it possible to visualize cells in histological regions and can therefore be very useful for the tracking of cancer cell proliferation and metastasis in vivo. The ability to track and quantitate cancer cell proliferation in vivo is essential for cancer drug discovery. If CM-DiI labeled cancer cells respond to chemotherapy agents similar to unlabeled cancer cells, it facilitates screening of potential anti-cancer compounds using CM-DiI labeled cells in a xenotransplanted, transgenic zebrafish model (Danio rerio). To investigate whether CM-DiI labeling would affect cancer cells' sensitivity when treated with established chemotherapeutic agents, the human breast cancer cell line MCF-7 was used. The chemotherapeutic agents used were doxorubicin, 4-hydroxytamoxifen, and paclitaxel. We hypothesized that CM-DiI would have no effect on the cells' viability and sensitivity when treated with the chemotherapeutic drugs. Both labeled and unlabeled MCF-7 cells were seeded and after 24 hours each plate was treated with one of ten concentrations ranging from 0.05 µM to 1 mM of a chemotherapy compound. After incubating for 72 hours, cell viability was determined using a colorimetric MTS assay. Cell viability was not significantly different between labeled and unlabeled cells following exposure to doxorubicin and 4-hydroxytamoxifen. The results for paclitaxel, however, were inconclusive. These results provided evidence to support future aims wherein CM-DiI stained breast cancer cells will be injected into transparent zebrafish that possess green fluorescent protein labeled vasculature enabling the tracking of cells' growth and migration while in the presence of potential new anti-cancer drugs.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.