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Oncol Rep. 2009 Nov;22(5):997-1003.

Three-dimensional alginate spheroid culture system of murine osteosarcoma.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Mie University Graduate School of Medicine, Mie 514-8507, Japan.


Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common primary malignant tumor of the bone and often forms pulmonary metastases, which are the most important prognostic factor. For further elucidation of the mechanism underlying the progression and metastasis of human OS, a culture system mimicking the microenvironment of the tumor in vivo is needed. We report a novel three-dimensional (3D) alginate spheroid culture system of murine osteosarcoma. Two different metastatic clones, the parental Dunn and its derivative line LM8, which has a higher metastatic potential to the lungs, were encapsulated in alginate beads to develop the 3D culture system. The beads containing murine OS cells were also transplanted into mice to determine their metastatic potential in vivo. In this culture system, murine OS cells encapsulated in alginate beads were able to grow in a 3D structure with cells detaching from the alginate environment. The number of detaching cells was higher in the LM8 cell line than the Dunn cell line. In the in vivo alginate bead transplantation model, the rate of pulmonary metastasis was higher with LM8 cells compared with that of Dunn cells. The cell characteristics and kinetics in this culture system closely reflect the original malignant potential of the cells in vivo.

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