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Biomatter

Interfacing polymeric scaffolds with primary pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cells to develop 3D cancer models.


PMID 25482337

Abstract

We analyzed the interactions between human primary cells from pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and polymeric scaffolds to develop 3D cancer models useful for mimicking the biology of this tumor. Three scaffold types based on two biocompatible polymeric formulations, such as poly(vinyl alcohol)/gelatin (PVA/G) mixture and poly(ethylene oxide terephthalate)/poly(butylene terephthalate) (PEOT/PBT) copolymer, were obtained via different techniques, namely, emulsion and freeze-drying, compression molding followed by salt leaching, and electrospinning. In this way, primary PDAC cells interfaced with different pore topographies, such as sponge-like pores of different shape and size or nanofiber interspaces. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence played by the scaffold architecture over cancerous cell growth and function. In all scaffolds, primary PDAC cells showed good viability and synthesized tumor-specific metalloproteinases (MMPs) such as MMP-2, and MMP-9. However, only sponge-like pores, obtained via emulsion-based and salt leaching-based techniques allowed for an organized cellular aggregation very similar to the native PDAC morphological structure. Differently, these cell clusters were not observed on PEOT/PBT electrospun scaffolds. MMP-2 and MMP-9, as active enzymes, resulted to be increased in PVA/G and PEOT/PBT sponges, respectively. These findings suggested that spongy scaffolds supported the generation of pancreatic tumor models with enhanced aggressiveness. In conclusion, primary PDAC cells showed diverse behaviors while interacting with different scaffold types that can be potentially exploited to create stage-specific pancreatic cancer models likely to provide new knowledge on the modulation and drug susceptibility of MMPs.