Posted in | Cell Biology

Evolution of 3D Cell Culture Cancer Models: Advances and Future Outlooks

A growing body of evidence suggests that more relevant, translational observations can be made using 3D microtissues and organoids as compared to 2D monolayer cell culture. This is most notable in the fields of cancer biology, immuno-oncology, and hepatotoxicity. 2D models, though cost effective, fail to replicate the 3D complexity of an in vivo tumor and associated influences of the tumor microenvironment, such as that of cell-to-cell contact and the influence of the extracellular matrix. These complex interactions, in combination with the unique properties of a 3D structure, affect tumor cell properties and behavior, gene expression, distribution of proteins, and ultimately, response to anticancer drugs. Spheroid models have a layered structure with rapidly proliferating cells surrounding a more quiescent and hypoxic, necrotic core. This structure generates a gradient of nutrients, metabolites, and oxygen in the spheroid, important attributes for evaluation of drug resistance due to penetration effects in a heterogeneous tumor. Effective analysis of 3D tumor spheroids can be challenging, yet models are emerging that can overcome those limitations and drive future research.


Keith L. Ligon, M.D., Ph.D.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, MA

David Tuveson, M.D., Ph.D.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Cold Spring Harbor, NY

During the webinar, viewers will

  • Learn the two main approaches to generating 3D cancer models (liquid- and scaffold-based) and the limitations for assessing the growth and shrinkage of 3D tumor spheroids
  • Discover how live-cell analysis can be combined with advanced cell models for added insight and productivity
  • Glean what advances researchers can expect in the future
  • See examples of the presenters’ cell culture research.

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