Modeling morphogenesis and oncogenesis in three-dimensional breast epithelial cultures

Annu Rev Pathol. 2008;3:313-39. doi: 10.1146/annurev.pathmechdis.3.121806.151526.


Three-dimensional (3D) epithelial culture systems recreate the cardinal features of glandular epithelium in vivo and represent a valuable tool for modeling breast cancer initiation and progression in a structurally appropriate context. 3D models have emerged as a powerful method to interrogate the biological activities of cancer genes and oncogenic pathways, and recent studies have poignantly illustrated their utility in dissecting the emerging role of tensional force in regulating epithelial tissue homeostasis. We review how 3D models are being used to investigate fundamental cellular and biophysical mechanisms associated with breast cancer progression that have not been readily amenable to traditional genetic or biochemical analysis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Breast / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Morphogenesis*
  • Oncogenes / physiology*