Bioengineered Models of Solid Human Tumors for Cancer Research

Methods Mol Biol. 2016;1502:203-11. doi: 10.1007/7651_2016_353.


The lack of controllable in vitro models that can recapitulate the features of solid tumors such as Ewing's sarcoma limits our understanding of the tumor initiation and progression and impedes the development of new therapies. Cancer research still relies of the use of simple cell culture, tumor spheroids, and small animals. Tissue-engineered tumor models are now being grown in vitro to mimic the actual tumors in patients. Recently, we have established a new protocol for bioengineering the Ewing's sarcoma, by infusing tumor cell aggregates into the human bone engineered from the patient's mesenchymal stem cells. The bone niche allows crosstalk between the tumor cells, osteoblasts and supporting cells of the bone, extracellular matrix, and the tissue microenvironment. The bioreactor platform used in these experiments also allows the implementation of physiologically relevant mechanical signals. Here, we describe a method to build an in vitro model of Ewing's sarcoma that mimics the key properties of the native tumor and provides the tissue context and physical regulatory signals.

Keywords: Bioreactor platform; Cancer research; Ewing’s sarcoma; Human sarcoma; Tumor model.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Biomedical Research / instrumentation
  • Biomedical Research / methods*
  • Bioreactors
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Bone and Bones / cytology
  • Bone and Bones / pathology*
  • Cell Aggregation
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / pathology
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / pathology*
  • Spheroids, Cellular / cytology
  • Spheroids, Cellular / pathology
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Tissue Engineering / instrumentation
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured