Gelatin Methacrylate Hydrogels as Biomimetic Three-Dimensional Matrixes for Modeling Breast Cancer Invasion and Chemoresponse in Vitro

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2016 Aug 31;8(34):22005-17. doi: 10.1021/acsami.6b06309. Epub 2016 Aug 18.


Recent studies have shown that three-dimensional (3D) culture environments allow the study of cellular responses in a setting that more closely resembles the in vivo milieu. In this context, hydrogels have become popular scaffold options for the 3D cell culture. Because the mechanical and biochemical properties of culture matrixes influence crucial cell behavior, selecting a suitable matrix for replicating in vivo cellular phenotype in vitro is essential for understanding disease progression. Gelatin methacrylate (GelMA) hydrogels have been the focus of much attention because of their inherent bioactivity, favorable hydration and diffusion properties, and ease-of-tailoring of their physicochemical characteristics. Therefore, in this study we examined the efficacy of GelMA hydrogels as a suitable platform to model specific attributes of breast cancer. We observed increased invasiveness in vitro and increased tumorigenic ability in vivo in breast cancer cells cultured on GelMA hydrogels. Further, cells cultured on GelMA matrixes were more resistant to paclitaxel treatment, as shown by the results of cell-cycle analysis and gene expression. This study, therefore, validates GelMA hydrogels as inexpensive, cell-responsive 3D platforms for modeling key characteristics associated with breast cancer metastasis, in vitro.

Keywords: 3D culture; breast cancer; chemoresponse; gelatin methacrylate; hydrogels; invasiveness.

MeSH terms

  • Biomimetics
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Gelatin
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels / chemistry*
  • Methacrylates
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness


  • Hydrogels
  • Methacrylates
  • Gelatin