Lack of relevant preclinical models that reliably recapitulate the complexity and heterogeneity of human cancer has slowed down the development and approval of new anti-cancer therapies. Even though two-dimensional in vitro culture models remain widely used, they allow only partial cell-to-cell and cell-to-matrix interactions and therefore do not represent the complex nature of the tumor microenvironment. Therefore, better models reflecting intra-tumor heterogeneity need to be incorporated in the drug screening process to more reliably predict the efficacy of drug candidates. Classic methods of modelling colorectal carcinoma (CRC), while useful for many applications, carry numerous limitations. In this review, we address the recent advances in in vitro CRC model systems, ranging from conventional CRC patient-derived models, such as conditional reprogramming-based cell cultures, to more experimental and state-of-the-art models, such as cancer-on-chip platforms or liquid biopsy.
Keywords: 3D bioprinting; Colorectal cancer; cancer-on-chip; drug combination; organoids; patient-derived xenograft.