Shilpa R. Raju, M. K.S
Dec 28, 2019
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
In the last few years, bioengineered tumor models for breast cancer has revitalized academia and industries with better tools to assess dynamic features such as cancer progression, invasion and metastasis. Previously, breast cancer biology has been studied predominantly by means of two-dimensional (2D) cell cultures, which were deficient in mimicking the tumor microenvironment (TME). To alleviate such limitations, three-dimensional (3D) tumor models have been proposed, which are cost-effective and reliably reproduce the complexity of the breast-cancer TME. We have developed two types of silk scaffolds, HFIP-based sponges and lyophilized, to mimic the TME. Silk fibroin, for fabricating the scaffold, was extracted from Bombyx since they are known to be biocompatible, tough, elastic, and biodegradable. We observed, that MDAMB-231 cells cultured in these scaffolds have altered proliferation, stemness, hypoxia and propensity to transition from an epithelial to a mesenchymal phenotype. This 3D breast cancer model can be a cost-effective alternative and could be used to study the molecular mechanisms and impact of drugs.