Cancer organoids: A platform in basic and translational research

Genes Dis. 2023 Apr 12;11(2):614-632. doi: 10.1016/j.gendis.2023.02.052. eCollection 2024 Mar.


An accumulation of previous work has established organoids as good preclinical models of human tumors, facilitating translation from basic research to clinical practice. They are changing the paradigm of preclinical cancer research because they can recapitulate the heterogeneity and pathophysiology of human cancers and more closely approximate the complex tissue environment and structure found in clinical tumors than in vitro cell lines and animal models. However, the potential applications of cancer organoids remain to be comprehensively summarized. In the review, we firstly describe what is currently known about cancer organoid culture and then discuss in depth the basic mechanisms, including tumorigenesis and tumor metastasis, and describe recent advances in patient-derived tumor organoids (PDOs) for drug screening and immunological studies. Finally, the present challenges faced by organoid technology in clinical practice and its prospects are discussed. This review highlights that organoids may offer a novel therapeutic strategy for cancer research.

Keywords: Drug assays; Immunotherapy; Mechanism research; Organoids; Precision medicine.

Publication types

  • Review