Life is three dimensional-as in vitro cancer cultures should be. Academic Article uri icon


  • For many decades, fundamental cancer research has relied on two-dimensional in vitro cell culture models. However, these provide a poor representation of the complex three-dimensional (3D) architecture of living tissues. The more recent 3D culture systems, which range from ridged scaffolds to semiliquid gels, resemble their natural counterparts more closely. The arrangement of the cells in 3D systems allows better cell-cell interaction and facilitates extracellular matrix secretion, with concomitant effects on gene and protein expression and cellular behavior. Many studies have reported differences between 3D and 2D systems as regards responses to therapeutic agents and pivotal cellular processes such as cell differentiation, morphology, and signaling pathways, demonstrating the importance of 3D culturing for various cancer cell lines.

publication date

  • January 1, 2014