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AUTHOR D'Agostino, Stefania and Rimann, Markus and Gamba, Piergiorgio and Perilongo, Giorgio and Pozzobon, Michela and Raghunath, Michael
Title Macromolecular crowding tuned extracellular matrix deposition in a bioprinted human rhabdomyosarcoma model [Abstract]
Year 2022
Journal/Proceedings Bioprinting
The role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in tumor recurrence and metastasis has been gaining attention. Indeed, not only cellular, but also structural proteins influence migratory and invasive capacity of tumor cells, including growth and resistance to drugs. Therefore, new in vitro tumor models that entail improved ECM formation and deposition are needed. Here, we are developed three-dimensional (3D) models of pediatric soft tissue sarcoma (Rhabdomyosarcoma [RMS]) with the two major subgroups, the embryonal (ERMS) and the alveolar (ARMS) form. We applied macromolecular crowding (MMC) technology to monolayer cultures, spheroids, and 3D bioprinted constructs. In all culture models, exposure to MMC significantly increased ECM deposition. Interestingly, bioprinted constructs showed a collagen and fibronectin matrix architecture that was comparable to that of tumor xenografts. Furthermore, the bioprinted model not only showed tumor cell growth inside the structure but also displayed cell clusters leaving the edges of the bioprinted construct, probably emulating a metastatic mechanism. ARMS and ERMS cells reacted differently in the bioprinted structure. Indeed, the characteristic metastatic behavior was much more pronounced in the more aggressive ARMS subtype. This promising approach opens new avenues for studying RMS microenvironment and creating a platform for cancer drug testing including the native tumor ECM.