Patient-derived specimens are an invaluable resource to investigate tumor biology. However, in vivo studies on primary cultures are often limited by the small amount of material available, while conventional in vitro systems might alter the features and behavior that characterize cancer cells. We present our data obtained on primary dedifferentiated liposarcoma cells cultured in a 3D scaffold-based system and injected into a zebrafish model. Primary cells were characterized in vitro for their morphological features, sensitivity to drugs and biomarker expression, and in vivo for their engraftment and invasiveness abilities. The 3D culture showed a higher enrichment in cancer cells than the standard monolayer culture and a better preservation of liposarcoma-associated markers. We also successfully grafted primary cells into zebrafish, showing their local migratory and invasive abilities. Our work provides proof of concept of the ability of 3D cultures to maintain the original phenotype of ex vivo cells, and highlights the potential of the zebrafish model to provide a versatile in vivo system for studies with limited biological material. Such models could be used in translational research studies for biomolecular analyses, drug screenings and tumor aggressiveness assays.
- Received October 19, 2016.
- Accepted November 23, 2016.
- © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd
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