A Three-Dimensional Organoid Culture System Derived from Human Glioblastomas Recapitulates the Hypoxic Gradients and Cancer Stem Cell Heterogeneity of Tumors Found In Vivo.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Many cancers feature cellular hierarchies that are driven by tumor-initiating cancer stem cells (CSC) and rely on complex interactions with the tumor microenvironment. Standard cell culture conditions fail to recapitulate the original tumor architecture or microenvironmental gradients and are not designed to retain the cellular heterogeneity of parental tumors. Here, we describe a three-dimensional culture system that supports the long-term growth and expansion of tumor organoids derived directly from glioblastoma specimens, including patient-derived primary cultures, xenografts, genetically engineered glioma models, or patient samples. Organoids derived from multiple regions of patient tumors retain selective tumorigenic potential. Furthermore, organoids could be established directly from brain metastases not typically amenable to in vitro culture. Once formed, tumor organoids grew for months and displayed regional heterogeneity with a rapidly dividing outer region of SOX2(+), OLIG2(+), and TLX(+) cells surrounding a hypoxic core of primarily non-stem senescent cells and diffuse, quiescent CSCs. Notably, non-stem cells within organoids were sensitive to radiotherapy, whereas adjacent CSCs were radioresistant. Orthotopic transplantation of patient-derived organoids resulted in tumors displaying histologic features, including single-cell invasiveness, that were more representative of the parental tumor compared with those formed from patient-derived sphere cultures. In conclusion, we present a new ex vivo model in which phenotypically diverse stem and non-stem glioblastoma cell populations can be simultaneously cultured to explore new facets of microenvironmental influences and CSC biology. Cancer Res; 76(8); 2465-77. ©2016 AACR.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hubert, CG; Rivera, M; Spangler, LC; Wu, Q; Mack, SC; Prager, BC; Couce, M; McLendon, RE; Sloan, AE; Rich, JN

Published Date

  • April 15, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 76 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 2465 - 2477

PubMed ID

  • 26896279

Pubmed Central ID

  • 26896279

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1538-7445

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-15-2402


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States