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Science. 2019 Jun 7;364(6444):952-955. doi: 10.1126/science.aaw6985.

Cancer modeling meets human organoid technology.

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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724, USA.
Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Research Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724, USA.
Oncode Institute and Hubrecht Institute, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, 3584 Utrecht, Netherlands.
University Medical Centre Utrecht, 3584 Utrecht, Netherlands.


Organoids are microscopic self-organizing, three-dimensional structures that are grown from stem cells in vitro. They recapitulate many structural and functional aspects of their in vivo counterpart organs. This versatile technology has led to the development of many novel human cancer models. It is now possible to create indefinitely expanding organoids starting from tumor tissue of individuals suffering from a range of carcinomas. Alternatively, CRISPR-based gene modification allows the engineering of organoid models of cancer through the introduction of any combination of cancer gene alterations to normal organoids. When combined with immune cells and fibroblasts, tumor organoids become models for the cancer microenvironment enabling immune-oncology applications. Emerging evidence indicates that organoids can be used to accurately predict drug responses in a personalized treatment setting. Here, we review the current state and future prospects of the rapidly evolving tumor organoid field.


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