Image-based profiling of patient-derived pancreatic tumor–stromal cell interactions within a micropatterned tumor model

Shilpaa Mukundan, Kriti Sharma, Kim Honselmann, Amy Singleton, Andrew Liss, Biju Parekkadan*

*Corresponding author for this work


Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive cancers with a 5-year patient survival rate of 8.2% and limited availability of therapeutic agents to target metastatic disease. Pancreatic cancer is characterized by a dense stromal cell population with unknown contribution to the progression or suppression of tumor growth. In this study, we describe a microengineered tumor stromal assay of patient-derived pancreatic cancer cells to study the heterotypic interactions of patient pancreatic cancer cells with different types of stromal fibroblasts under basal and drug-treated conditions. The population dynamics of tumor cells in terms of migration and viability were visualized as a functional end point. Coculture with cancer-associated fibroblasts increased the migration of cancer cells when compared to dermal fibroblasts. Finally, we imaged the response of a bromodomain and extraterminal inhibitor on the viability of pancreatic cancer clusters surrounding by stroma in microengineered tumor stromal assay. We visualized a codynamic reduction in both cancer and stromal cells with bromodomain and extraterminal treatment compared to the dimethyl sulfoxide-treated group. This study demonstrates the ability to engineer tumor–stromal assays with patient-derived cells, study the role of diverse types of stromal cells on cancer progression, and precisely visualize a coculture during the screening of therapeutic compounds.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTechnology in Cancer Research and Treatment
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2018

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)


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