Generation of Microtumors Using 3D Human Biogel Culture System and Patient-derived Glioblastoma Cells for Kinomic Profiling and Drug Response Testing

J Vis Exp. 2016 Jun 9;(112):54026. doi: 10.3791/54026.


The use of patient-derived xenografts for modeling cancers has provided important insight into cancer biology and drug responsiveness. However, they are time consuming, expensive, and labor intensive. To overcome these obstacles, many research groups have turned to spheroid cultures of cancer cells. While useful, tumor spheroids or aggregates do not replicate cell-matrix interactions as found in vivo. As such, three-dimensional (3D) culture approaches utilizing an extracellular matrix scaffold provide a more realistic model system for investigation. Starting from subcutaneous or intracranial xenografts, tumor tissue is dissociated into a single cell suspension akin to cancer stem cell neurospheres. These cells are then embedded into a human-derived extracellular matrix, 3D human biogel, to generate a large number of microtumors. Interestingly, microtumors can be cultured for about a month with high viability and can be used for drug response testing using standard cytotoxicity assays such as 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) and live cell imaging using Calcein-AM. Moreover, they can be analyzed via immunohistochemistry or harvested for molecular profiling, such as array-based high-throughput kinomic profiling, which is detailed here as well. 3D microtumors, thus, represent a versatile high-throughput model system that can more closely replicate in vivo tumor biology than traditional approaches.

Publication types

  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Glioblastoma*
  • Humans
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells
  • Spheroids, Cellular