• Open Access

Incorporation of multicellular spheroids into 3-D polymeric scaffolds provides an improved tumor model for screening anticancer drugs


To whom correspondence should be addressed.
E-mail: benwu@seas.ucla.edu


Development of cancer therapeutics requires a thorough evaluation of drug efficacy in vitro before animal testing and subsequent clinical trials. Three-dimensional (3-D) in vitro models have therefore been investigated for drug screening. In this study, we have developed a novel in vitro model in which multicellular aggregates, or spheroids, were incorporated into 3-D porous scaffolds. Drug resistance assays showed that spheroid-seeded scaffolds have much higher drug resistance than monolayer cultures, spheroids on flat substrates, or scaffolds seeded with dispersed cells. Furthermore, spheroid-seeded scaffolds demonstrated higher lactate production leading to acidosis, and higher expression of angiogenic factors. These data suggest that the spheroid-seeded 3-D scaffolds might serve as a useful in vitro system for screening cancer therapeutics. (Cancer Sci 2010; 101: 2637–2643)