Organoid Models of Human Liver Cancers Derived from Tumor Needle Biopsies

Cell Rep. 2018 Jul 31;24(5):1363-1376. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.07.001.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common primary liver cancer and the second most frequent cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. The multikinase inhibitor sorafenib is the only treatment option for advanced HCC. Due to tumor heterogeneity, its efficacy greatly varies between patients and is limited due to adverse effects and drug resistance. Current in vitro models fail to recapitulate key features of HCCs. We report the generation of long-term organoid cultures from tumor needle biopsies of HCC patients with various etiologies and tumor stages. HCC organoids retain the morphology as well as the expression pattern of HCC tumor markers and preserve the genetic heterogeneity of the originating tumors. In a proof-of-principle study, we show that liver cancer organoids can be used to test sensitivity to sorafenib. In conclusion, organoid models can be derived from needle biopsies of liver cancers and provide a tool for developing tailored therapies.

Keywords: Biobank; cholangiocellular carcinoma; drug response; genetic heterogeneity; hepatocellular carcinoma; liver; needle biopsy; patient-derived organoids; patient-derived xenografts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Organoids / pathology*
  • Tissue Culture Techniques / methods