Human liver cancer organoids: Biological applications, current challenges, and prospects in hepatoma therapy

Cancer Lett. 2023 Feb 28:555:216048. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2022.216048. Epub 2023 Jan 2.


Liver cancer and disease are among the most socially challenging global health concerns. Although organ transplantation, surgical resection and anticancer drugs are the main methods for the treatment of liver cancer, there are still no proven cures owing to the lack of donor livers and tumor heterogeneity. Recently, advances in tumor organoid technology have attracted considerable attention as they can simulate the spatial constructs and pathophysiological characteristics of tumorigenesis and metastasis in a more realistic manner. Organoids may further contribute to the development of tailored therapies. Combining organoids with other emerging techniques, such as CRISPR-HOT, organ-on-a-chip, and 3D bioprinting, may further develop organoids and address their bottlenecks to create more practical models that generalize different tissue or organ interactions in tumor progression. In this review, we summarize the various methods in which liver organoids may be generated and describe their biological and clinical applications, present challenges, and prospects for their integration with emerging technologies. These rapidly developing liver organoids may become the focus of in vitro clinical model development and therapeutic research for liver diseases in the near future.

Keywords: 3D bioprinting; CRISPR-HOT; Liver cancer; Organ-on-a-chip; Organoid.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogenesis / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Liver Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Organoids / pathology