Three-dimensional microtissues essentially contribute to preclinical validations of therapeutic targets in breast cancer

Natalie Falkenberg, Ines Höfig, Michael Rosemann, Justine Szumielewski, Sabine Richter, Kenji Schorpp, Kamyar Hadian, Michaela Aubele, Michael J. Atkinson, Nataša Anastasov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


A 3D microtissues using T47D and JIMT-1 cells were generated to analyze tissue-like response of breast cancer cells after combined human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-targeted treatment and radiation. Following lentiviral knockdown of HER2, we compared growth rate alterations using 2D monolayers, 3D microtissues, and mouse xenografts. Additionally, to model combined therapeutic strategies, we treated HER2-depleted T47D cells and 3D microtissues using trastuzumab (anti-HER2 antibody) in combination with irradiation. Comparison of HER2 knockdown with corresponding controls revealed growth impairment due to HER2 knockdown in T47D 2D monolayers, 3D microtissues, and xenografts (after 2, 12, and ≥40 days, respectively). In contrast, HER2 knockdown was less effective in inhibiting growth of trastuzumab-resistant JIMT-1 cells in vitro and in vivo. Combined administration of trastuzumab and radiation treatment was also analyzed using T47D 3D microtissues. Administration of both, radiation (5 Gy) and trastuzumab, significantly enhanced the growth inhibiting effect in 3D microtissues. To improve the predictive power of potential drugs-as single agents or in combination-here, we show that regarding tumor growth analyses, 3D microtissues are highly comparable to outcomes derived from xenografts. Considering increased limitations for animal experiments on the one hand and strong need of novel drugs on the other hand, it is indispensable to include highly reproducible 3D microtissue platform in preclinical analyses to validate more accurately the capacity of future drug-combined radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-710
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • 3D microtissue
  • Combination
  • HER2 knockdown
  • Model
  • Mouse xenografts
  • Radiation
  • Spheroid
  • Trastuzumab


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