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Biomaterials. 2009 Oct;30(30):6076-85. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2009.07.054. Epub 2009 Aug 19.

Hyaluronic acid-based hydrogels as 3D matrices for in vitro evaluation of chemotherapeutic drugs using poorly adherent prostate cancer cells.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA.

Erratum in

  • Biomaterials. 2010 May;31(14):4248.


The current investigation aimed to develop a biomimetic, three-dimensional (3D) culture system for poorly adherent bone metastatic prostate cancer cells (C4-2B) for use as an in vitro platform for anti-cancer drug screening. To this end, hyaluronic acid (HA) derivatives carrying complementary aldehyde (HAALD) and hydrazide (HAADH) groups were synthesized and characterized. In situ encapsulation of C4-2B cells was achieved by simple mixing of HAALD and HAADH in the presence of the cells. Unlike two-dimensional (2D) monolayer culture in which cells adopt an atypical spread morphology, cells residing in the HA matrix formed distinct clustered structures which grew and merged, reminiscent of real tumors. Anti-cancer drugs added to the media surrounding the cell/gel construct diffused into the gel and killed the embedded cells. The HA hydrogel system was used successfully to test the efficacy of anti-cancer drugs including camptothecin, docetaxel, and rapamycin, alone and in combination, including specificity, dose and time responses. Responses of cells to anti-neoplastics differed between the 3D HA hydrogel and 2D monolayer systems. We suggest that the data obtained from 3D HA systems is superior to that from conventional 2D monolayers as the 3D system better reflects the bone metastatic microenvironment of the cancer cells.

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