3D Bioprinting of Breast Cancer Models for Drug Resistance Study

ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering 2018 Volume 4, Issue 12, Pages 4401-4411

Adipose-derived mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (ADMSC) are one of the major stromal cells in the breast cancer microenvironment that promote cancer progression. Previous studies on the effects of ADMSC on breast cancer metastasis and drug resistance, using two-dimensional (2D) cultures, remained inconclusive. In the present study, we compared cocultured ADMSC and human epidermal receptor 2 positive breast primary breast cancer cells (21PT) in 2D and three-dimensional (3D) cultures and then examined their response to doxorubicin (DOX). We examined 3D bioprinted constructs with breast cancer cells in the middle and ADMSC in the edge region, which were made by using dual hydrogel-based bioinks. We found that the percentage of cleaved Caspase-3 positive cells was significantly lower in the bioprinted constructs with ADMSC and 21PT than that in the cancer cell alone constructs, in response to low DOX dose. We further increased the thickness of the ADMSC layers to mimic the status of obesity and then examined the effect of ADMSC thickness on DOX resistance and lysyl oxidase (LOX) secretion. In the moderate and thick-layered ADMSC constructs, significantly more cells were stained negative for cleaved Caspase-3, indicating less apoptosis. Both ADMSC and 21PT intrinsically expressed LOX, regardless of changes in thickness or DOX administration. Notably, treatment with a LOX inhibitor significantly decreased the stiffness in the ADMSC region but did not affect the stiffness in the 21PT region. In addition, LOX inhibitor treatment enhanced DOX sensitivity of 21PT in the bioprinted constructs, as seen by a decrease in LOX secretion and downregulation of adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette transporter gene expression. Taken together, we demonstrate that 3D bioprinted these breast cancer models faithfully reproduce in vivo conditions and should provide better models for examining breast cancer biology and for screening for drug discoveries.