Organotypic three-dimensional cancer cell cultures mirror drug responses in vivo: lessons learned from the inhibition of EGFR signaling

Nico Jacobi, Rita Seeboeck, Elisabeth Hofmann, Helmut Schweiger, Veronika Smolinska, Thomas Mohr, Alexandra Boyer, Wolfgang Sommergruber, Peter Lechner, Corina Pichler-Huebschmann, Kamil Önder, Harald Hundsberger, Christoph Wiesner, Andreas Eger

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Complex three-dimensional (3D) in vitro models that recapitulate human tumor biology are essential to understand the pathophysiology of the disease and to aid in the discovery of novel anti-cancer therapies. 3D organotypic cultures exhibit intercellular communication, nutrient and oxygen gradients, and cell polarity that is lacking in two-dimensional (2D) monolayer cultures. In the present study, we demonstrate that 2D and 3D cancer models exhibit different drug sensitivities towards both targeted inhibitors of EGFR signaling and broad acting cytotoxic agents. Changes in the kinase activities of ErbB family members and differential expression of apoptosis- and survival-associated genes before and after drug treatment may account for the differential drug sensitivities. Importantly, EGFR oncoprotein addiction was evident only in the 3D cultures mirroring the effect of EGFR inhibition in the clinic. Furthermore, targeted drug efficacy was strongly increased when incorporating cancer-associated fibroblasts into the 3D cultures. Taken together, we provide conclusive evidence that complex 3D cultures are more predictive of the clinical outcome than their 2D counterparts. In the future, 3D cultures will be instrumental for understanding the mode of action of drugs, identifying genotype-drug response relationships and developing patient-specific and personalized cancer treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107423-107440
Number of pages18
JournalOncotarget
Volume8
Issue number64
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2017

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