bims-miftum Biomed News
on Microfluidics and 3D tumor models
Issue of 2020‒09‒20
two papers selected by
Nidhi Menon
Virginia Tech


  1. Integr Biol (Camb). 2020 Sep 15. pii: zyaa017. [Epub ahead of print]
    Bi Y, Shirure VS, Liu R, Cunningham C, Ding L, Meacham JM, Goedegebuure SP, George SC, Fields RC.
      Tumor-infiltrating leukocytes, in particular macrophages, play an important role in tumor behavior and clinical outcome. The spectrum of macrophage subtypes ranges from antitumor 'M1'-type to protumor 'M2'-type macrophages. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) typically display phenotypic features of both M1 and M2, and the population distribution is thought to be dynamic and evolves as the tumor progresses. However, our understanding of how TAMs impact the tumor microenvironment remains limited by the lack of appropriate 3D in vitro models that can capture cell-cell dynamics at high spatial and temporal resolution. Using our recently developed microphysiological 'tumor-on-a-chip' (TOC) device, we present here our findings on the impact of defined macrophage subsets on tumor behavior. The TOC device design contains three adjacent and connected chambers in which both the upper and lower chambers are loaded with tumor cells, whereas the central chamber contains a dynamic, perfused, living microvascular network. Introduction of human pancreatic or colorectal cancer cells together with M1-polarized macrophages significantly inhibited tumor growth and tumor-induced angiogenesis. Protein analysis and antibody-based neutralization studies confirmed that these effects were mediated through production of C-X-C motif chemokines (CXCL9), CXCL10 and CXCL11. By contrast, M2-macrophages mediated increased tumor cell migration into the vascularized chamber and did not inhibit tumor growth or angiogenesis. In fact, single-cell RNA sequencing showed that M2 macrophages further segregated endothelial cells into two distinct subsets, corresponding to static cells in vessels versus active cells involved in angiogenesis. The impact of M2 macrophages was mediated mostly by production of matrix metalloproteinase 7 and angiopoietin 2. In summary, our data demonstrate the utility of the TOC device to mechanistically probe biological questions in a 3D in vitro microenvironment.
    Keywords:  angiogenesis; macrophage; tumor invasion; tumor-on-a-chip
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1093/intbio/zyaa017
  2. Eur J Pharm Sci. 2020 Sep 11. pii: S0928-0987(20)30330-4. [Epub ahead of print] 105542
    Gokce B, Akcok I, Cagir A, Okvur DP.
      Drug discovery has a 90% rate of failure because preclinical platforms for drug testing do not mimic the in vivo conditions. Doxorubicin (DOX) is a commonly used drug to treat breast cancer patients even though it has side effects. Lab-on-a-chip (LOC) devices provide spatial control at the micrometer scale and can thus emulate the cancer microenvironment. Here, using a multidisciplinary approach, a new drug testing platform based on 3D tri-culture in LOC devices was developed. Breast cancer cells alone or with normal mammary epithelial cells and macrophages were cultured in matrigel in LOC devices. The platform was used to test DOX and (R)-4'-methylklavuzon (KLA), which is a new anti-cancer drug candidate. Results showed that DOX and KLA were equally effective on breast cancer cells in 3D monoculture. KLA produced 26% less death for breast cancer cells than DOX in 3D tri-culture. More importantly, DOX was not selective between breast cancer cells and normal mammary epithelial cells in 3D tri- culture whereas KLA caused 56% less cell death than DOX for normal mammary epithelial cells. Results strongly recommend that 3D tri-culture in LOC devices be used for assessment of drug toxicity at the preclinical stage.
    Keywords:  (R)-4′-methylklavuzon; 3D cell culture; Breast cancer cell; Drug discovery; Lab-on-a-chip; Tri-culture, doxorubicin
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejps.2020.105542