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MCF-7 cells as a three-dimensional model for the study of human breast cancer

Grant number: 11/14678-3
Support type:Regular Research Grants - Publications - Scientific article
Duration: September 01, 2011 - February 29, 2012
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Morphology
Principal Investigator:Glaucia Maria Machado Santelli
Grantee:Glaucia Maria Machado Santelli
Home Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:06/01026-0 - Functional characterization of genes potentially regulated by estrogen receptor and/or ERBB2 oncogene: implications in the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of breast cancer, AP.TEM


The increasing use of three-dimensional (3D) cell culture is because it reproduces in vitro results similar to in vivo results. Multicellular tumor spheroids generated in vitro exhibit important characteristics of avascular tumors, mainly with respect to tumor physiology and microenvironment. The interaction among cells in a tridimensional culture environment enhances cell differentiation and leads to luminal formation in some breast-derived cellcultures. The present work describes a method that permits luminal formation in breast adenocarcinoma cell AU3c (MCF-7)-derived spheroids in a 3D environment. In the proposed model, several relevant parameters, such ascell survival, apoptosis, autophagy, and E-cadherin expression, were analyzed to understand the organization of MCF-7 cells during different culture phases, including luminal and bud formation. (AU)