Exploring Drug Dosing Regimens In Vitro Using Real-Time 3D Spheroid Tumor Growth Assays.

Paradigms and Technologies
Methods Development


Two-dimensional monolayer cell proliferation assays for cancer drug discovery have made the implementation of large-scale screens feasible but only seem to reflect a simplified view that oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes are the genetic drivers of cancer cell proliferation. However, there is now increased evidence that the cellular and physiological context in which these oncogenic events occur play a key role in how they drive tumor growth in vivo and, therefore, in how tumors respond to drug treatments. In vitro 3D spheroid tumor models are being developed to better mimic the physiology of tumors in vivo, in an attempt to improve the predictability and efficiency of drug discovery for the treatment of cancer. Here we describe the establishment of a real-time 3D spheroid growth, 384-well screening assay. The cells used in this study constitutively expressed green fluorescent protein (GFP), which enabled the real-time monitoring of spheroid formation and the effect of chemotherapeutic agents on spheroid size at different time points of sphere growth and drug treatment. This real-time 3D spheroid assay platform represents a first step toward the replication in vitro of drug dosing regimens being investigated in vivo. We hope that further development of this assay platform will allow the investigation of drug dosing regimens, efficacy, and resistance before preclinical and clinical studies.


Lal-Nag, Madhu; McGee, Lauren; Titus, Steven A; Brimacombe, Kyle; Michael, Samuel; Sittampalam, Gurusingham; Ferrer-Alegre, Marc;

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