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      3D microtumors in vitro supported by perfused vascular networks

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          Abstract

          There is a growing interest in developing microphysiological systems that can be used to model both normal and pathological human organs in vitro. This “organs-on-chips” approach aims to capture key structural and physiological characteristics of the target tissue. Here we describe in vitro vascularized microtumors (VMTs). This “tumor-on-a-chip” platform incorporates human tumor and stromal cells that grow in a 3D extracellular matrix and that depend for survival on nutrient delivery through living, perfused microvessels. Both colorectal and breast cancer cells grow vigorously in the platform and respond to standard-of-care therapies, showing reduced growth and/or regression. Vascular-targeting agents with different mechanisms of action can also be distinguished, and we find that drugs targeting only VEGFRs (Apatinib and Vandetanib) are not effective, whereas drugs that target VEGFRs, PDGFR and Tie2 (Linifanib and Cabozantinib) do regress the vasculature. Tumors in the VMT show strong metabolic heterogeneity when imaged using NADH Fluorescent Lifetime Imaging Microscopy and, compared to their surrounding stroma, many show a higher free/bound NADH ratio consistent with their known preference for aerobic glycolysis. The VMT platform provides a unique model for studying vascularized solid tumors in vitro.

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          Most cited references 57

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          Hallmarks of Cancer: The Next Generation

          The hallmarks of cancer comprise six biological capabilities acquired during the multistep development of human tumors. The hallmarks constitute an organizing principle for rationalizing the complexities of neoplastic disease. They include sustaining proliferative signaling, evading growth suppressors, resisting cell death, enabling replicative immortality, inducing angiogenesis, and activating invasion and metastasis. Underlying these hallmarks are genome instability, which generates the genetic diversity that expedites their acquisition, and inflammation, which fosters multiple hallmark functions. Conceptual progress in the last decade has added two emerging hallmarks of potential generality to this list-reprogramming of energy metabolism and evading immune destruction. In addition to cancer cells, tumors exhibit another dimension of complexity: they contain a repertoire of recruited, ostensibly normal cells that contribute to the acquisition of hallmark traits by creating the "tumor microenvironment." Recognition of the widespread applicability of these concepts will increasingly affect the development of new means to treat human cancer. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              The Emerging Hallmarks of Cancer Metabolism.

              Tumorigenesis is dependent on the reprogramming of cellular metabolism as both direct and indirect consequence of oncogenic mutations. A common feature of cancer cell metabolism is the ability to acquire necessary nutrients from a frequently nutrient-poor environment and utilize these nutrients to both maintain viability and build new biomass. The alterations in intracellular and extracellular metabolites that can accompany cancer-associated metabolic reprogramming have profound effects on gene expression, cellular differentiation, and the tumor microenvironment. In this Perspective, we have organized known cancer-associated metabolic changes into six hallmarks: (1) deregulated uptake of glucose and amino acids, (2) use of opportunistic modes of nutrient acquisition, (3) use of glycolysis/TCA cycle intermediates for biosynthesis and NADPH production, (4) increased demand for nitrogen, (5) alterations in metabolite-driven gene regulation, and (6) metabolic interactions with the microenvironment. While few tumors display all six hallmarks, most display several. The specific hallmarks exhibited by an individual tumor may ultimately contribute to better tumor classification and aid in directing treatment.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group
                2045-2322
                23 August 2016
                2016
                : 6
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry , UC Irvine, CA, USA
                [2 ]Department of Biomedical Engineering , UC Irvine, CA, USA
                [3 ]Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics, UC Irvine , CA, USA
                [4 ]Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St Louis , MO, USA
                Author notes
                [*]

                These authors contributed equally to this work.

                Article
                srep31589
                10.1038/srep31589
                4994029
                27549930
                Copyright © 2016, The Author(s)

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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