Engineering Three-Dimensional Tumor Models to Study Glioma Cancer Stem Cells and Tumor Microenvironment

Henry Ruiz-Garcia, Keila Alvarado-Estrada, Paula Schiapparelli, Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, Daniel M. Trifiletti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and devastating primary brain tumor, leading to a uniform fatality after diagnosis. A major difficulty in eradicating GBM is the presence of microscopic residual infiltrating disease remaining after multimodality treatment. Glioma cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been pinpointed as the treatment-resistant tumor component that seeds ultimate tumor progression. Despite the key role of CSCs, the ideal preclinical model to study the genetic and epigenetic landmarks driving their malignant behavior while simulating an accurate interaction with the tumor microenvironment (TME) is still missing. The introduction of three-dimensional (3D) tumor platforms, such as organoids and 3D bioprinting, has allowed for a better representation of the pathophysiologic interactions between glioma CSCs and the TME. Thus, these technologies have enabled a more detailed study of glioma biology, tumor angiogenesis, treatment resistance, and even performing high-throughput screening assays of drug susceptibility. First, we will review the foundation of glioma biology and biomechanics of the TME, and then the most up-to-date insights about the applicability of these new tools in malignant glioma research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number558381
JournalFrontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
StatePublished - Oct 16 2020


  • bioprinting
  • glioma
  • organ-on-a-chip
  • organoids
  • spheroids
  • stem cell
  • tissue engineering
  • tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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