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World J Clin Oncol. 2017 Feb 10;8(1):21-36. doi: 10.5306/wjco.v8.i1.21.

Three-dimensional bio-printing: A new frontier in oncology research.

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Nitin Charbe, Unit of Clinical Pharmacology, L. Sacco University Hospital, University of Milan, 20157 Milan, Italy.


Current research in oncology deploys methods that rely principally on two-dimensional (2D) mono-cell cultures and animal models. Although these methodologies have led to significant advancement in the development of novel experimental therapeutic agents with promising anticancer activity in the laboratory, clinicians still struggle to manage cancer in the clinical setting. The disappointing translational success is attributable mainly to poor representation and recreation of the cancer microenvironment present in human neoplasia. Three-dimensional (3D) bio-printed models could help to simulate this micro-environment, with recent bio-printing of live human cells demonstrating that effective in vitro replication is achievable. This literature review outlines up-to-date advancements and developments in the use of 3D bio-printed models currently being used in oncology research. These innovative advancements in 3D bio-printing open up a new frontier for oncology research and could herald an era of progressive clinical cancer therapeutics.


Biomaterials; Cancer; In vitro; In vivo; Three-dimensional bio-printing

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Conflict-of-interest statement: Authors declare no conflict of interests for this article.

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