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Three-Dimensional Cell Culture Systems in Radiopharmaceutical Cancer Research

Department of Radiopharmaceutical and Chemical Biology, Institute of Radiopharmaceutical Cancer Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, 01328 Dresden, Germany
School of Science, Faculty of Chemistry and Food Chemistry, Technische Universität Dresden, 01069 Dresden, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
S.H. and J.P. share senior authorship.
Cancers 2020, 12(10), 2765;
Received: 20 August 2020 / Revised: 14 September 2020 / Accepted: 16 September 2020 / Published: 25 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer-on-a-Chip: Applications and Challenges)
Cancer cells cultured in three-dimensional (3D) model systems exhibit physiologically relevant cell–cell and cell–matrix interactions, gene expression patterns, and signaling cascades as well as heterogeneity and structural complexity that more reliably reflect tumors and metastases than monolayer cultures do. In recent years, the development of various 3D models, including scaffold-free, scaffold-based, chip-based, and organoid systems, has improved, among other things, the characterization of new radioligands and the use of screening platforms for the development of radiotracers and radiotherapeutics. This review article attempts to summarize and critically discuss the suitability of different 3D culture systems in radiopharmaceutical cancer research. Specific emphasis is put on pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, which is a predestined target for new radiotheranostic agents. This overview also highlights the different sophisticated techniques for generating 3D models and their characteristics.
In preclinical cancer research, three-dimensional (3D) cell culture systems such as multicellular spheroids and organoids are becoming increasingly important. They provide valuable information before studies on animal models begin and, in some cases, are even suitable for reducing or replacing animal experiments. Furthermore, they recapitulate microtumors, metastases, and the tumor microenvironment much better than monolayer culture systems could. Three-dimensional models show higher structural complexity and diverse cell interactions while reflecting (patho)physiological phenomena such as oxygen and nutrient gradients in the course of their growth or development. These interactions and properties are of great importance for understanding the pathophysiological importance of stromal cells and the extracellular matrix for tumor progression, treatment response, or resistance mechanisms of solid tumors. Special emphasis is placed on co-cultivation with tumor-associated cells, which further increases the predictive value of 3D models, e.g., for drug development. The aim of this overview is to shed light on selected 3D models and their advantages and disadvantages, especially from the radiopharmacist’s point of view with focus on the suitability of 3D models for the radiopharmacological characterization of novel radiotracers and radiotherapeutics. Special attention is paid to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) as a predestined target for the development of new radionuclide-based theranostics. View Full-Text
Keywords: co-culture; organoids; pancreatic cancer; radiotherapeutics; radiotracer; spheroids; stromal cells; 3D model; tumor microenvironment co-culture; organoids; pancreatic cancer; radiotherapeutics; radiotracer; spheroids; stromal cells; 3D model; tumor microenvironment
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MDPI and ACS Style

Doctor, A.; Seifert, V.; Ullrich, M.; Hauser, S.; Pietzsch, J. Three-Dimensional Cell Culture Systems in Radiopharmaceutical Cancer Research. Cancers 2020, 12, 2765.

AMA Style

Doctor A, Seifert V, Ullrich M, Hauser S, Pietzsch J. Three-Dimensional Cell Culture Systems in Radiopharmaceutical Cancer Research. Cancers. 2020; 12(10):2765.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Doctor, Alina; Seifert, Verena; Ullrich, Martin; Hauser, Sandra; Pietzsch, Jens. 2020. "Three-Dimensional Cell Culture Systems in Radiopharmaceutical Cancer Research" Cancers 12, no. 10: 2765.

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