Biomimetic Model of Tumor Microenvironment on Microfluidic Platform

Adv Healthc Mater. 2017 Aug;6(15). doi: 10.1002/adhm.201700196. Epub 2017 May 24.


The "Tumor microenvironment" (TME) is a complex, interacting system of the tumor and its surrounding environment. The TME has drawn more attention recently in attempts to overcome current drug resistance and the recurrence of cancer by understanding the cancer and its microenvironment systematically, beyond past reductionist approaches. However, a lack of experimental tools to dissect the intricate interactions has hampered in-depth research into the TME. Here, a biomimetic TME model using a microfluidic platform is presented, which enables the interaction between TME constituents to be studied in a comprehensive manner. Paracrine interactions of cocultured tumor cell lines (SK-OV-3, MKN-74, and SW620) with primary fibroblasts show marked morphological changes in the tumor cells, depending on the type of tumor cells, and, importantly, the composition of the extracellular matrix. Furthermore, this model allows direct observation of angiogenesis induced by the tumor-stroma interaction. Finally, reconstituting simultaneous angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis induced by the tumor-stromal interaction with TME mimicking extrinsic factors is enabled. It is believed that the in vitro biomimetic model and the experimental concepts described will help to shed light on the complex biology of the TME.

Keywords: 3D coculture; angiogenesis; lymphangiogenesis; microfluidics; tumor microenvironments.

MeSH terms

  • Batch Cell Culture Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Batch Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Biomimetic Materials / chemistry*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Humans
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices*
  • Materials Testing
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / chemistry*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / physiopathology*
  • Tissue Engineering / instrumentation*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods
  • Tumor Microenvironment*