Intrinsic drug resistance of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) warrants studies using models that are more clinically relevant for identifying novel resistance mechanisms as well as for drug development. Tumor spheroids (TS) mimic in vivo tumor conditions associated with multicellular resistance and represent a promising model for efficient drug screening, however, pancreatic cancer cells often fail to form spheroids using conventional methods such as liquid overlay. This study describes the induction of TS of human pancreatic cancer cells (Panc-1, Aspc-1, Capan-2) in concave polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microwell plates and evaluation of their usefulness as an anticancer efficacy test model. All three cell lines showed TS formation with varying degree of necrosis inside TS. Among these, Panc-1 spheroid with spherical morphology, a rather rough surface, and unique adhesion structures were successfully produced with no notable necrosis in concave microwell plates. Panc-1 TS contained growth factors or enzymes such as TGF-β1, CTGF, and MT1-MMP, and extracellular matrix proteins such as collagen type I, fibronectin, and laminin. Panc-1 cells grown as TS showed changes in stem cell populations and in expression levels of miRNAs that may play roles in chemoresistance. Visualization of drug penetration and detection of viability indicators, such as Ki-67 and MitoSOX, were optimized for TS for quantitative analysis. Water-soluble tetrazolium (MTS) and acid phosphatase (APH) assays were also successfully optimized. Overall, we demonstrated that concave PDMS microwell plates are a novel platform for preparation of TS of weakly aggregating cells and that Panc-1 spheroids may represent a novel three-dimensional model for anti-pancreatic cancer drug screening.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)