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Technol Cancer Res Treat. 2014 Apr;13(2):149-59. doi: 10.7785/tcrt.2012.500363. Epub 2013 Jul 11.

Tissue engineering concept in the research of the tumor biology.

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  • 1Gastroenterology Department, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University, School of Medicine, #88 Jiefang Road, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, 310009 China.


Tumor is a heterogeneous complex, which lives in a three-dimensional environment flush with biopathophysiological and biomechanical signals. This signaling abundant extracellular milieu co-evolving from cell-cell and cell-host interaction guides the development and the generation of the tumor. There has been a recent surge of interest in studying the tumor biology that more closely mirror what happens in living organisms, especially in cancer research. Incorporating cancer cells in the 3D mimicking environment instead of monolayers is reasonable for maintaining in vivo cancer behaviors in spatial and temporal context. However, 3D culture for cancer still presents a challenge for researchers in this field. Tissue engineering, originally aiming at designing the artificial organs, provided a feasible approach to recreate such complex mechanical and biochemical interplay. Aside from reproducing bionic environment, tissue engineering has been routinely introduced into cancer study to build three dimensional structures not only to develop molecular therapeutics, but also to screen for toxic effects of drugs or radiotherapy sensitivity. In this article, we focused on the recent advances of the well-defined tissue-engineering biomaterials in the application in tumor biology. We also discussed the fabrications of the scaffolds from different materials, which might contribute to future cancer research.

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