Current concepts in tumour-derived organoids

Br J Cancer. 2020 Oct;123(8):1209-1218. doi: 10.1038/s41416-020-0993-5. Epub 2020 Jul 30.


Cancer comprises a collection of highly proliferative and heterogeneous cells growing within an adaptive and evolving tumour microenvironment. Cancer survival rates have significantly improved following decades of cancer research. However, many experimental and preclinical studies do not translate to the bedside, reflecting the challenges of modelling the complexities and multicellular basis of human disease. Organoids are novel, complex, three-dimensional ex vivo tissue cultures that are derived from embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells or tissue-resident progenitor cells, and represent a near-physiological model for studying cancer. Organoids develop by self-organisation, and can accurately represent the diverse genetic, cellular and pathophysiological hallmarks of cancer. In addition, co-culture methods and the ability to genetically manipulate these organoids have widened their utility in cancer research. Organoids thus offer a new and exciting platform for studying cancer and directing personalised therapies. This review aims to highlight how organoids are shaping the future of cancer research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Gene Editing
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Organoids / cytology*
  • Organoids / physiology
  • Tumor Microenvironment