Advances in Tumor Organoids for the Evaluation of Drugs: A Bibliographic Review

Pharmaceutics. 2022 Dec 3;14(12):2709. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics14122709.


Tumor organoids are defined as self-organized three-dimensional assemblies of heterogeneous cell types derived from patient samples that mimic the key histopathological, genetic, and phenotypic characteristics of the original tumor. This technology is proposed as an ideal candidate for the evaluation of possible therapies against cancer, presenting advantages over other models which are currently used. However, there are no reports in the literature that relate the techniques and material development of tumor organoids or that emphasize in the physicochemical and biological properties of materials that intent to biomimicry the tumor extracellular matrix. There is also little information regarding the tools to identify the correspondence of native tumors and tumoral organoids (tumoroids). Moreover, this paper relates the advantages of organoids compared to other models for drug evaluation. A growing interest in tumoral organoids has arisen from 2009 to the present, aimed at standardizing the process of obtaining organoids, which more accurately resemble patient-derived tumor tissue. Likewise, it was found that the characteristics to consider for the development of organoids, and therapeutic responses of them, are cell morphology, physiology, the interaction between cells, the composition of the cellular matrix, and the genetic, phenotypic, and epigenetic characteristics. Currently, organoids have been used for the evaluation of drugs for brain, lung, and colon tumors, among others. In the future, tumor organoids will become closer to being considered a better model for studying cancer in clinical practice, as they can accurately mimic the characteristics of tumors, in turn ensuring that the therapeutic response aligns with the clinical response of patients.

Keywords: 3D cell culture; cancer; extracellular matrix; organoids; tumoroids.

Publication types

  • Review