Engineered microenvironments provide new insights into ovarian and prostate cancer progression and drug responses

Daniela Loessner, Boris Michael Holzapfel, Judith Ann Clements

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Tissue engineering technologies, which have originally been designed to reconstitute damaged tissue structure and function, can mimic not only tissue regeneration processes but also cancer development and progression. Bioengineered approaches allow cell biologists to develop sophisticated experimentally and physiologically relevant cancer models to recapitulate the complexity of the disease seen in patients. Tissue engineering tools enable three-dimensionality based on the design of biomaterials and scaffolds that re-create the geometry, chemistry, function and signalling milieu of the native tumour microenvironment. Three-dimensional (3D) microenvironments, including cell-derived matrices, biomaterial-based cell culture models and integrated co-cultures with engineered stromal components, are powerful tools to study dynamic processes like proteolytic functions associated with cancer progression, metastasis and resistance to therapeutics. In this review, we discuss how biomimetic strategies can reproduce a humanised niche for human cancer cells, such as peritoneal or bone-like microenvironments, addressing specific aspects of ovarian and prostate cancer progression and therapy response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-213
Number of pages21
JournalAdvanced Drug Delivery Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D culture models
  • Bone metastasis
  • Humanised
  • Intraperitoneal metastasis
  • Preclinical drug testing
  • Tissue engineering

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