PDX-derived organoids model in vivo drug response and secrete biomarkers

JCI Insight. 2020 Nov 5;5(21):e135544. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.135544.


Patient-derived organoid models are proving to be a powerful platform for both basic and translational studies. Here we conduct a methodical analysis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) tumor organoid drug response in paired patient-derived xenograft (PDX) and PDX-derived organoid (PXO) models grown under WNT-free culture conditions. We report a specific relationship between area under the curve value of organoid drug dose response and in vivo tumor growth, irrespective of the drug treatment. In addition, we analyzed the glycome of PDX and PXO models and demonstrate that PXOs recapitulate the in vivo glycan landscape. In addition, we identify a core set of 57 N-glycans detected in all 10 models that represent 50%-94% of the relative abundance of all N-glycans detected in each of the models. Last, we developed a secreted biomarker discovery pipeline using media supernatant of organoid cultures and identified potentially new extracellular vesicle (EV) protein markers. We validated our findings using plasma samples from patients with PDAC, benign gastrointestinal diseases, and chronic pancreatitis and discovered that 4 EV proteins are potential circulating biomarkers for PDAC. Thus, we demonstrate the utility of organoid cultures to not only model in vivo drug responses but also serve as a powerful platform for discovering clinically actionable serologic biomarkers.

Keywords: Cancer; Glycobiology; Oncology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / blood
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / pathology*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Extracellular Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Organoids / drug effects
  • Organoids / metabolism
  • Organoids / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism
  • Prognosis
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Polysaccharides

Supplementary concepts

  • Pancreatic Carcinoma