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Patient-derived organoids as in vitro cancer models
Cancer research has predominantly focused on two-dimensional (2D) cultured human cell lines during the past decades. Although these models have (i) improved our understanding of cellular signalling pathways, (ii) helped us identify potential drug targets and (iii) guided the design of candidate drugs for a wide range of cancers, still they have shown many limitations.
The recent advances in in vitro 3D culture technologies, such as organoids, have opened new avenues to improve basic and clinical cancer research. Up to now, highly efficient establishment of organoids can be achieved from both normal and malignant patient tissues.
Wild-type organoids, grown from embryonic and adult stem cells, can be mutated, through gene-editing technologies, into tumor organoids, which may emulate and give new insights into genetic alterations occurring during cancer initiation and progression. Organoids obtained from patient-derived tumour tissues represent an emerging approach for creating patient-derived in vitro cancer models that closely recapitulate the pathophysiological features of natural tumorigenesis and metastasis constituting a great tool for the discovery of personalized anti-cancer therapy and prognostic biomarkers.
Taken together, organoids represent a promising model for cancer research and clinical translation.