Construction of in vitro patient-derived tumor models to evaluate anticancer agents and cancer immunotherapy

Oncol Lett. 2021 May;21(5):406. doi: 10.3892/ol.2021.12667. Epub 2021 Mar 22.


An in vitro assay system using patient-derived tumor models represents a promising preclinical cancer model that replicates the disease better than traditional cell culture models. Patient-derived tumor organoid (PDO) and patient-derived tumor xenograft (PDX) models have been previously established from different types of human tumors to recapitulate accurately and efficiently their tissue architecture and function. However, these models have low throughput and are challenging to construct. Thus, the present study aimed to establish a simple in vitro high-throughput assay system using PDO and PDX models. Furthermore, the current study aimed to evaluate different classes of anticancer drugs, including chemotherapeutic, molecular targeted and antibody drugs, using PDO and PDX models. First, an in vitro high-throughput assay system was constructed using PDO and PDX established from solid and hematopoietic tumors cultured in 384-well plates to evaluate anticancer agents. In addition, an in vitro evaluation system of the immune response was developed using PDO and PDX. Novel cancer immunotherapeutic agents with marked efficacy have been used against various types of tumor. Thus, there is an urgent need for in vitro functional potency assays that can simulate the complex interaction of immune cells with tumor cells and can rapidly test the efficacy of different immunotherapies or antibody drugs. An evaluation system for the antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxic activity of anti-epidermal growth factor receptor antibody and the cytotoxic activity of activated lymphocytes, such as cytotoxic T lymphocytes and natural killer cells, was constructed. Moreover, immune response assay systems with bispecific T-cell engagers were developed using effector cells. The present results demonstrated that in vitro assay systems using PDO and PDX may be suitable for evaluating anticancer agents and immunotherapy potency with high reproducibility and simplicity.

Keywords: PDO; PDX; antibody drugs; anticancer agents; cancer immunity; cancer immunotherapy; ex vivo assay; high-throughput in vitro assay; immune response; molecular targeted drugs.

Grant support

The present study was supported by grants from the Translational Research Programs from Fukushima Prefecture.