Send to

Choose Destination
Trends Mol Med. 2008 Aug;14(8):333-40. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2008.06.001. Epub 2008 Jul 7.

New dimensions in tumor immunology: what does 3D culture reveal?

Author information

Institut für Chirurgische Forschung und Spitalmanagement, Departments of Surgery and of Biomedicine, Basel University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland.


Experimental models indicate that tumor cells in suspension, unlike solid tumor fragments, might be unable to produce life-threatening cancer outgrowth when transferred to animal models, irrespective of the number of cells transferred, although they induce specific immune responses. Human tumor cells cultured in three dimensions display increased pro-angiogenic capacities and resistance to interferons, chemotherapeutic agents or irradiation, as compared with cells cultured in two-dimensional (2D) monolayers. Tumor cells cultured in three dimensions were also shown to be characterized by defective immune recognition by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) specific for tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) and by a capacity to inhibit CTL proliferation and dendritic cell (DC) functions. Downregulation of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) or TAA expression and high production of lactic acid might play a role in the elicitation of these effects. Here, we propose that growth in 3D architectures might provide new insights into tumor immunology and could represent an integral missing component in pathophysiological tumor immune escape mechanisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center