Sander Basten1, Bram Herpers1, Kuan Yan1, Torsten Giesemann2, Julia Schueler2, Willemijn Vader3, and Leo Price1,
1OcellO B.V. Leiden, The Netherlands, 2Charles River, Freiburg, Germany, 3Vitroscan B.V. Leiden, The Netherlands
Ex vivo cultures of patient-derived tumor enable functional testing of treatment options and optimization of pre-clinical drug development. Patient biopsies or tumor from patient-derived xenografts (PDX) mouse models are a valuable source of human tumor material that can be cultured in 3D for screening of drug efficacy, drug resistance and cellular processes such as proliferation, survival and invasion. A high throughput approach using 384 well plates enables evaluation of multiple drug treatments and dose ranges in parallel. After compound exposure, cultures are fixed and stained with cellular markers. 3D image stack acquisition is followed by ultra-high content multiparametric analysis using the OMiner platform to profile drug responses and quantify tumor spheroid volume, apoptosis and tumor invasion.
Dissected PDX material and tumor biopsy material, were used to establish 3D tumor cultures derived from various indications, including breast, ovarian, cervix, endometrium, stomach, pancreatic, colon, bladder and lung cancer. These were exposed to standard-of-care chemotherapeutics (e.g. 5-FU, taxanes, platinum compounds, anthracyclines, alkylating agents), small molecules (e.g. erlotinib, lapatinib, trametinib), targeted therapies (PARPi; niraparib, olaparib, rucaparib), antibodies (e.g. cetuximab, trastuzumab) and antibody-drug-conjugate (ADC, T-DM1) dose ranges. The tumor culture response was measured, generating dose-dependent profiles for relevant features.
Patient-derived 3D tumor cultures were tested with standard-of-care and novel therapeutic agents and high content analysis was used to evaluate drug sensitivity. This method enables both the in vitro selection of drug candidates in a pre-clinical setting as well as efficient selection of PDX models for in vivo follow-up in the same tumor. This highly translational in vitro-in vivo PDX pipeline is expected to reduce attrition and increase efficiency in early drug-discovery. Correlation of drug sensitivity in 3D cultures from fresh patient tumor biopsies, on the other hand, can be used for development of predictive diagnostics and also provides a unique source of patient material for drug discovery and development.