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Organoids as clinically relevant models to tailor precision medicine in cancer treatment

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Guest Editors: Sabrina Arena1, Giovanni Blandino2, Alice Castelli3, Cyril Corbet4

1- Associate Professor, University of Turin and Group Leader, Candiolo Cancer Institute, Turin, Italy
2- Head of Translational Oncology Research Unit
, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy
3- Managing Editor, Journal of  Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy
4- Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et Clinique, Pole of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Louvain, Brussels, Belgium

The expanding field of precision medicine in oncology requires an accurate profiling of tumors to identify effectively targetable alterations and to translate preclinical discoveries into clinical benefit for cancer patients. This approach has led to the replacement of the one-size-fits-all therapies by more effective and individualized treatments. This goal has been recently achieved not only thanks to the use of powerful sequencing technologies for tumor molecular profiling, but also thanks to the development of novel preclinical models more closely resembling patients ‘tumors. Organoids are self-assembling, organ-like, three-dimensional cellular structures that thoroughly retain in vitro key characteristics of the respective tissue of origin. Organoids can be obtained both from normal or tumor tissue, allowing the wide and potentially infinite expansion of material for research and preclinical studies that have already shown a significant impact in the clinical arena. Cancer organoid platforms have provided valuable tools to test next-generation drugs and novel therapeutic strategies to foster personalized medical decisions and to potentially improve treatment outcomes starting from real “patient avatars”.

With this special collection we aim at presenting the latest highlights and state-of-art applications involving the use of organoids to improve therapeutic strategies and to tailor a more personalized approach in cancer treatment.

Keywords: Organoids, Oncology, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Targeted therapy, precision medicine, preclinical models.


  1. Tumor cells have the ability to invade and form small clusters that protrude into adjacent tissues, a phenomenon that is frequently observed at the periphery of a tumor as it expands into healthy tissues. The ...

    Authors: Pedro Fonseca, Weiyingqi Cui, Nona Struyf, Le Tong, Ayushi Chaurasiya, Felipe Casagrande, Honglei Zhao, Dinura Fernando, Xinsong Chen, Nicholas P. Tobin, Brinton Seashore-Ludlow, Andreas Lundqvist, Johan Hartman, Anita Göndör, Päivi Östling and Lars Holmgren
    Citation: Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2024 43:107
  2. This study explores the repurposing of Auranofin (AF), an anti-rheumatic drug, for treating non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) adenocarcinoma and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Drug repurposing in on...

    Authors: Christophe Deben, Laurie Freire Boullosa, Felicia Rodrigues Fortes, Edgar Cardenas De La Hoz, Maxim Le Compte, Sofie Seghers, Marc Peeters, Steve Vanlanduit, Abraham Lin, Krijn K. Dijkstra, Paul Van Schil, Jeroen M. H. Hendriks, Hans Prenen, Geert Roeyen, Filip Lardon and Evelien Smits
    Citation: Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2024 43:88
  3. Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is the most aggressive thyroid cancer. Despite advances in tissue culture techniques, a robust model for ATC spheroid culture is yet to be developed. In this study, we created a...

    Authors: Jiangnan Hu, Kaili Liu, Chandrayee Ghosh, Tejinder Pal Khaket, Helen Shih and Electron Kebebew
    Citation: Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2024 43:85
  4. The inability to predict treatment response of colorectal cancer patients results in unnecessary toxicity, decreased efficacy and survival. Response testing on patient-derived organoids (PDOs) is a promising b...

    Authors: Lidwien P. Smabers, Emerens Wensink, Carla S. Verissimo, Esmee Koedoot, Katerina-Chara Pitsa, Maarten A. Huismans, Celia Higuera Barón, Mayke Doorn, Liselot B. Valkenburg-van Iersel, Geert A. Cirkel, Anneta Brousali, René Overmeer, Miriam Koopman, Manon N. Braat, Bas Penning de Vries, Sjoerd G. Elias…
    Citation: Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2024 43:61
  5. In vitro models are necessary to study the pathophysiology of the disease and the development of effective, tailored treatment methods owing to the complexity and heterogeneity of breast cancer and the large p...

    Authors: Anamitra Bhattacharya, Kamare Alam, Nakka Sharmila Roy, Kulwinder Kaur, Santanu Kaity, Velayutham Ravichandiran and Subhadeep Roy
    Citation: Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2023 42:343
  6. Patient Derived Organoids (PDOs) emerged as the best technology to develop ex vivo tumor avatars. Whether drug testing on PDOs to identify efficient therapies will bring clinical utility by improving patient s...

    Authors: Jérôme Cartry, Sabrina Bedja, Alice Boilève, Jacques R. R. Mathieu, Emilie Gontran, Maxime Annereau, Bastien Job, Ali Mouawia, Pierre Mathias, Thierry De Baère, Antoine Italiano, Benjamin Besse, Isabelle Sourrouille, Maximiliano Gelli, Mohamed-Amine Bani, Peggy Dartigues…
    Citation: Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2023 42:281
  7. In the era of personalized medicine, the establishment of preclinical models of cancer that faithfully recapitulate original tumors is essential to potentially guide clinical decisions.

    Authors: Lucie Thorel, Pierre-Marie Morice, Hippolyte Paysant, Romane Florent, Guillaume Babin, Cécilia Thomine, Marion Perréard, Edwige Abeilard, Florence Giffard, Emilie Brotin, Christophe Denoyelle, Céline Villenet, Shéhérazade Sebda, Mélanie Briand, Florence Joly, Enora Dolivet…
    Citation: Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2023 42:260
  8. Most of the endometrial cancer (EC) patients are diagnosis in early stage with a good prognosis while the patients with locally advanced recurrent or metastatic result in a poor prognosis. Adjuvant therapy cou...

    Authors: Xi Chen, Xin Liu, Qian-hui Li, Bing-feng Lu, Bu-min Xie, Yu-meng Ji and Yang Zhao
    Citation: Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2023 42:230
  9. Despite tremendous progress in deciphering breast cancer at the genomic level, the pronounced intra- and intertumoral heterogeneity remains a major obstacle to the advancement of novel and more effective treat...

    Authors: Nicole Anderle, Felix Schäfer-Ruoff, Annette Staebler, Nicolas Kersten, André Koch, Cansu Önder, Anna-Lena Keller, Simone Liebscher, Andreas Hartkopf, Markus Hahn, Markus Templin, Sara Y. Brucker, Katja Schenke-Layland and Christian Schmees
    Citation: Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2023 42:210
  10. Gemcitabine resistance (GR) is a significant clinical challenge in pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PAAD) treatment. Macrophages in the tumor immune-microenvironment are closely related to GR. Uncovering the macroph...

    Authors: Shengwei Jiang, Tingwei Deng, Huan Cheng, Weihan Liu, Dan Shi, Jiahui Yuan, Zhiwei He, Weiwei Wang, Boning Chen, Li Ma, Xianbin Zhang and Peng Gong
    Citation: Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2023 42:199
  11. Approximately 20–50% of patients presenting with localized colorectal cancer progress to stage IV metastatic disease (mCRC) following initial treatment and this is a major prognostic determinant. Here, we have...

    Authors: Mario Cioce, Maria Rita Fumagalli, Sara Donzelli, Frauke Goeman, Valeria Canu, Daniela Rutigliano, Giulia Orlandi, Andrea Sacconi, Claudio Pulito, Alina Catalina Palcau, Maurizio Fanciulli, Aldo Morrone, Maria Grazia Diodoro, Marco Caricato, Anna Crescenzi, Martina Verri…
    Citation: Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2023 42:170
  12. Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is the most common subtype of renal cancer. Large-scale metabolomic data have associated metabolic alterations with the pathogenesis and progression of renal carcinoma a...

    Authors: Christofer Rupert, Carmela Dell’ Aversana, Laura Mosca, Vittorino Montanaro, Davide Arcaniolo, Marco De Sio, Antonio Bilancio, Lucia Altucci, Wulf Palinski, Roberto Pili and Filomena de Nigris
    Citation: Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2023 42:134
  13. High grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is highly lethal, partly due to chemotherapy resistance and limited availability of targeted approaches. Cyclin dependent kinases 12 and 13 (CDK12/13) are promising the...

    Authors: Eleonora Cesari, Alessandra Ciucci, Marco Pieraccioli, Cinzia Caggiano, Camilla Nero, Davide Bonvissuto, Francesca Sillano, Marianna Buttarelli, Alessia Piermattei, Matteo Loverro, Floriana Camarda, Viviana Greco, Maria De Bonis, Angelo Minucci, Daniela Gallo, Andrea Urbani…
    Citation: Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2023 42:126
  14. Patients with colorectal metastatic disease have a poor prognosis, limited therapeutic options, and frequent development of resistance. Strategies based on tumor-derived organoids are a powerful tool to assess...

    Authors: Lars Henrik Jensen, Silvia Regina Rogatto, Jan Lindebjerg, Birgitte Havelund, Cecilie Abildgaard, Luisa Matos do Canto, Chris Vagn-Hansen, Claus Dam, Søren Rafaelsen and Torben Frøstrup Hansen
    Citation: Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2023 42:115
  15. Immunotherapy as a rapidly developing therapeutic approach has revolutionized cancer treatment and revitalized the field of tumor immunology research. 3D in vitro models are emerging as powerful tools consider...

    Authors: Peiyuan Mu, Shujuan Zhou, Tao Lv, Fan Xia, Lijun Shen, Juefeng Wan, Yaqi Wang, Hui Zhang, Sanjun Cai, Junjie Peng, Guoqiang Hua and Zhen Zhang
    Citation: Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2023 42:81
  16. We propose a new approach for designing personalized treatment for colorectal cancer (CRC) patients, by combining ex vivo organoid efficacy testing with mathematical modeling of the results.

    Authors: George M. Ramzy, Maxim Norkin, Thibaud Koessler, Lionel Voirol, Mathieu Tihy, Dina Hany, Thomas McKee, Frédéric Ris, Nicolas Buchs, Mylène Docquier, Christian Toso, Laura Rubbia-Brandt, Gaetan Bakalli, Stéphane Guerrier, Joerg Huelsken and Patrycja Nowak-Sliwinska
    Citation: Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2023 42:79