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Bioprinted cancer model of neuroblastoma in a renal microenvironment as an efficiently applicable drug testing platform

Wu, Dongwei; Berg, Johanna; Arlt, Birte; Röhrs, Viola; Al-Zeer, Munir A.; Deubzer, Hedwig E.; Kurreck, Jens

FG Angewandte Biochemie

Development of new anticancer drugs with currently available animal models is hampered by the fact that human cancer cells are embedded in an animal-derived environment. Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial solid malignancy of childhood. Major obstacles include managing chemotherapy-resistant relapses and resistance to induction therapy, leading to early death in very-high-risk patients. Here, we present a three-dimensional (3D) model for neuroblastoma composed of IMR-32 cells with amplified genes of the myelocytomatosis viral related oncogene MYCN and the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) in a renal environment of exclusively human origin, made of human embryonic kidney 293 cells and primary human kidney fibroblasts. The model was produced with two pneumatic extrusion printheads using a commercially available bioprinter. Two drugs were exemplarily tested in this model: While the histone deacetylase inhibitor panobinostat selectively killed the cancer cells by apoptosis induction but did not affect renal cells in the therapeutically effective concentration range, the peptidyl nucleoside antibiotic blasticidin induced cell death in both cell types. Importantly, differences in sensitivity between two-dimensional (2D) and 3D cultures were cell-type specific, making the therapeutic window broader in the bioprinted model and demonstrating the value of studying anticancer drugs in human 3D models. Altogether, this cancer model allows testing cytotoxicity and tumor selectivity of new anticancer drugs, and the open scaffold design enables the free exchange of tumor and microenvironment by any cell type.