Organoids as Models for Neoplastic Transformation

Annu Rev Pathol. 2016 May 23;11:199-220. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pathol-012615-044249. Epub 2016 Feb 22.


Cancer models strive to recapitulate the incredible diversity inherent in human tumors. A key challenge in accurate tumor modeling lies in capturing the panoply of homo- and heterotypic cellular interactions within the context of a three-dimensional tissue microenvironment. To address this challenge, researchers have developed organotypic cancer models (organoids) that combine the 3D architecture of in vivo tissues with the experimental facility of 2D cell lines. Here we address the benefits and drawbacks of these systems, as well as their most recent advances. In particular, we focus on the application of such models to the discovery of novel cancer drivers, the study of tumor biology, and the development of novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of cancer.

Keywords: 3D culture; cancer; organoid; organotypic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Organoids / pathology*