Three-dimensional co-culture model for tumor-stromal interaction

Masafumi Horie, Akira Saito, Yoko Yamaguchi, Mitsuhiro Ohshima, Takahide Nagase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer progression (initiation, growth, invasion and metastasis) occurs through interactions between malignant cells and the surrounding tumor stromal cells. The tumor microenvironment is comprised of a variety of cell types, such as fibroblasts, immune cells, vascular endothelial cells, pericytes and bone-marrow-derived cells, embedded in the extracellular matrix (ECM). Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) have a pro-tumorigenic role through the secretion of soluble factors, angiogenesis and ECM remodeling. The experimental models for cancer cell survival, proliferation, migration, and invasion have mostly relied on two-dimensional monocellular and monolayer tissue cultures or Boyden chamber assays. However, these experiments do not precisely reflect the physiological or pathological conditions in a diseased organ. To gain a better understanding of tumor stromal or tumor matrix interactions, multicellular and three-dimensional cultures provide more powerful tools for investigating intercellular communication and ECM-dependent modulation of cancer cell behavior. As a platform for this type of study, we present an experimental model in which cancer cells are cultured on collagen gels embedded with primary cultures of CAFs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere52469
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number96
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2015


  • Cancer
  • Collagen
  • Fibroblast
  • Invasion
  • Issue 96
  • Medicine
  • Three-dimensional co-culture
  • Tumor stroma


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