Pathophysiologically relevant in vitro tumor models for drug screening

Drug Discov Today. 2015 Jul;20(7):848-55. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2015.04.004. Epub 2015 Apr 20.


The alarming rate of failure of clinical trials is a major hurdle in cancer therapy that partly results from the inadequate use of in vitro tumor models for the screening of promising hits and leads in preclinical studies. 2D cultures of cancer cell lines that are primarily used for drug screening do not adequately recapitulate tumor microenvironment (TME) complexities compared with 3D cancer cell cultures and tumor-derived primary cell cultures. In this review, we focus on the potential use of in vitro tumor models that reproduce in vivo tumor complexities for effective drug selection in the preclinical stages of drug development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Testing Alternatives
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Communication / drug effects
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Discovery / methods*
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor / methods*
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Tumor Microenvironment / drug effects*


  • Antineoplastic Agents