Concave microwell array-mediated three-dimensional tumor model for screening anticancer drug-loaded nanoparticles

Ah Ran Kang, Hye In Seo, Bong Geun Chung, Sang Hoon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the effect of anticancer drug-loaded functional polymeric nanoparticles on drug resistance of three-dimensional (3D) breast tumor spheroids. 3D tumor models were built using concave microwells with different diameters (300-700. μm) and nanoparticles were prepared using thermo-responsive poly(. N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM)-. co-acrylic acid (AA). Upon culturing with doxorubicin-loaded PNIPAM-. co-AA nanoparticles for 96. hours, the smallest tumor spheroids were extensively disrupted, resulting in a reduction in spheroid diameter. In contrast, the sizes of the largest tumor spheroids were not changed. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that the circular shape of 3D spheroids treated with doxorubicin-loaded PNIPAM-. co-AA nanoparticles had collapsed severely. Cell viability assays also demonstrated that the largest tumor spheroids cultured with doxorubicin-loaded PNIPAM-. co-AA nanoparticles were highly resistant to the anticancer drug. We confirmed that tight cell-cell contacts within largest tumor spheroids significantly improved the anticancer drug resistance. Therefore, this uniform-sized 3D breast tumor model could be a potentially powerful tool for anticancer drug screening applications. From the Clinical Editor: The battle against cancer is a big challenge. With new anti-cancer drugs being developed under the nanotechnology platform, there is a need to have a consistent and reliable testing system that mimics the in-vivo tumor scenario. The authors successfully designed a 3D tumor model using concave microwells to produce different tumor diameters. This will be of value for future drug screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1153-1161
Number of pages9
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 1


  • Anticancer drug screening
  • Concave microwell array
  • Polymeric nanoparticle
  • Three-dimensional tumor model
  • Uniform-sized tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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