Patient-derived three-dimensional culture techniques model tumor heterogeneity in head and neck cancer

Anuraag S. Parikh, Victoria X. Yu, Samuel Flashner, Ogoegbunam B. Okolo, Chao Lu, Brian S. Henick, Fatemeh Momen-Heravi, Sidharth V. Puram, Theodoros Teknos, Quintin Pan, Hiroshi Nakagawa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) outcomes remain stagnant, in part due to a poor understanding of HNSCC biology. The importance of tumor heterogeneity as an independent predictor of outcomes and treatment failure in HNSCC has recently come to light. With this understanding, 3D culture systems, including patient derived organoids (PDO) and organotypic culture (OTC), that capture this heterogeneity may allow for modeling and manipulation of critical subpopulations, such as p-EMT, as well as interactions between cancer cells and immune and stromal cells in the microenvironment. Here, we review work that has been done using PDO and OTC models of HNSCC, which demonstrates that these 3D culture models capture in vivo tumor heterogeneity and can be used to model tumor biology and treatment response in a way that faithfully recapitulates in vivo characteristics. As such, in vitro 3D culture models represent an important bridge between 2D monolayer culture and in vivo models such as patient derived xenografts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106330
JournalOral Oncology
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • EMT
  • Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
  • Heterogeneity
  • Organoids
  • Organotypic culture
  • Three-dimensional culture


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