Modeling dynamic reciprocity: engineering three-dimensional culture models of breast architecture, function, and neoplastic transformation

Semin Cancer Biol. 2005 Oct;15(5):342-52. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2005.05.001.


In order to understand why cancer develops as well as predict the outcome of pharmacological treatments, we need to model the structure and function of organs in culture so that our experimental manipulations occur under physiological contexts. This review traces the history of the development of a prototypic example, the three-dimensional (3D) model of the mammary gland acinus. We briefly describe the considerable information available on both normal mammary gland function and breast cancer generated by the current model and present future challenges that will require an increase in its complexity. We propose the need for engineered tissues that faithfully recapitulate their native structures to allow a greater understanding of tissue function, dysfunction, and potential therapeutic intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / anatomy & histology
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / pathology
  • Mammary Glands, Human / anatomy & histology*
  • Mammary Glands, Human / pathology*
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Models, Biological
  • Phenotype
  • Tissue Engineering