3D (three-dimensional) cell culture permits a more integrated analysis of the relationship between cells, inserting them into a structure more closely resembling the cellular microenvironment in vivo. The development of in vitro parameters to approximate in vivo 3D cellular environments makes a less reductionist interpretation of cell biology possible. For breast cells, in vitro 3D culture has proven to be an important tool for the analysis of luminal morphogenesis. A greater understanding of this process is necessary because alterations in the lumen arrangement are associated with carcinogenesis. Following lumen formation in 3D cell culture using laser scanning confocal microscopy, we observed alterations in the arrangement of cytoskeletal components (F-actin and microtubules) and increasing levels of cell death associated with lumen formation. The formation of a polarized monolayer facing the lumen was characterized through 3D reconstructions and the use of TEM (transmission electron microscopy), and this process was found to occur through the gradual clearing of cells from the medullary region of the spheroids. This process was associated with different types of cell death, such as apoptosis, autophagy and entosis. The present study showed that changes in the extracellular matrix associated with long periods of time in 3D cell culture lead to the formation of a lumen in MCF-7 cell spheroids and that features of differentiation such as lumen and budding formation occur after long periods in 3D culture, even in the absence of exogenous extracellular compounds.