The three-dimensional (3D) cell culture technique has been applied comprehensively as a variable platform for medical research, biochemical signal pathway analysis, and evaluation of anti-tumor treatment response due to an excellent recapitulation of a tumor microenvironment (TME) in the in vitro cultured cancer cells. Pancreatic cancer (PaC) is one of the toughest malignancies with a complex TME and refractory treatment response. To comprehensively study the TME of PaC, there is an eager need to develop a 3D culture model to decompose the cellular components and their cross interactions. Herein, we establish a 3D PaC culture system with cancer stem cell (CSC) and scalability properties. To validate our model, we tested the individual PaC cell and the combined effects with cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) on cancer tumorigenicity, the cellular interaction through the CXCR3/CXCL10 axis, and cellular responses reflection of anti-cancer treatments. With the help of our 3D technology, a simulated malignant spheroid with important stromal populations and TME physiochemical properties may be successfully recreated. It can be used in a wide range of preclinical research and helpful in advancing basic and translational cancer biology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2292-2305
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cancer
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • cancer-associated fibroblast (CAF)
  • CXCR3/CXCL10 axis
  • Pancreatic cancer (PaC)
  • spheroid model
  • therapeutic discovery
  • three dimensional (3D)
  • two dimensional (2D)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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