We have developed 3D-tumoroids and tumor slice in vitro culture systems from surgical tumor specimens derived from patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) or lung cancer to evaluate immune cell populations infiltrating cultured tissues. The system incorporates patient's peripherally and tumor-derived immune cells into tumoroid in vitro cultures to evaluate the ability of the culture to mimic an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (ITM). This system enables analysis of tumor response to standard therapy within weeks of surgical resection. Here we show that tumoroid cultures from a CRC patient are highly sensitive to the thymidylate synthase inhibitor 5-fluorouracil (adrucil) but less sensitive to the combination of nucleoside analog trifluridine and thymidine phosphorylase inhibitor tipiracil (Lonsurf). Moreover, re-introduction of isolated immune cells derived from surrounding and infiltrating tumor tissue as well as CD45+ tumor infiltrating hematopoietic cells displayed prolonged (>10 days) survival in co-culture. Established tumor slice cultures were found to contain both an outer epithelial and inner stromal cell compartment mimicking tumor structure in vivo. Collectively, these data suggest that, 3D-tumoroid and slice culture assays may provide a feasible in vitro approach to assess efficacy of novel therapeutics in the context of heterogeneous tumor-associated cell types including immune and non-transformed stromal cells. In addition, delineating the impact of therapeutics on immune cells, and cell types involved in therapeutic resistance mechanisms may be possible in general or for patient-specific responses.
Finnberg, N. K., Gokare, P., Lev, A., Grivennikov, S. I., MacFarlane, A. W., Campbell, K. S., … El-Deiry, W. S. (2017). Application of 3D tumoroid systems to define immune and cytotoxic therapeutic responses based on tumoroid and tissue slice culture molecular signatures. Oncotarget, 8(40), 66747–66757. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19965