Tumor organoid culture systems are self-renewing 3D models derived from cancer cells that recapitulate characteristics of their tissues of origin.
Organoid models allow for the study of key pathophysiological processes such as cancer biology in vitro. They offer insights into all aspects dealing with tumor development, progression and response to the treatment of tissue obtained from individual patients. Tumor organoids are therefore not only a better tumor model than classical monolayer cell cultures but can be used as personalized avatars for translational studies.
In the institutional framework of assembling translational research platforms aimed at improving precision oncology, several studies devoted to the generation of tumor organoids as surrogates for interrogating real time therapeutic approaches, have been approved by the Institutional Ethical Committee.
In particular, the establishment of a multidisciplinary intramural network including surgeons, medical oncologists, biologists, pathologists and interventional radiologists, allowed the enrolment of a large number of cancer patients deeply characterized at clinical and molecular levels.
Notably, tumoral tissues are subjected to multi-omic analyses (whole exome sequencing, RNAsequencing, miRNA profiling) to define critical regulatory networks to be validated as actionable targets in tumor organoids.
Currently, we are focusing on different types of tumor organoids, including breast cancer, head and neck cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, endometrial cancer and epithelial cancer.
Undeniably, tumor organoids hold great promise as excellent tools for clinicians that would improve the management of cancer patients.