Published online Dec 26, 2019. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v11.i12.1065
Peer-review started: February 27, 2019
First decision: August 1, 2019
Revised: October 9, 2019
Accepted: November 4, 2019
Article in press: November 4, 2019
Published online: December 26, 2019
Three-dimensional (3D) culture systems are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to mimic tissue-like structures more effectively than the monolayer cultures. In cancer and stem cell research, the natural cell characteristics and architectures are closely mimicked by the 3D cell models. Thus, the 3D cell cultures are promising and suitable systems for various proposes, ranging from disease modeling to drug target identification as well as potential therapeutic substances that may transform our lives. This review provides a comprehensive compendium of recent advancements in culturing cells, in particular cancer and stem cells, using 3D culture techniques. The major approaches highlighted here include cell spheroids, hydrogel embedding, bioreactors, scaffolds, and bioprinting. In addition, the progress of employing 3D cell culture systems as a platform for cancer and stem cell research was addressed, and the prominent studies of 3D cell culture systems were discussed.
Core tip: Three-dimensional cell culture systems are considered an in vitro platform for cancer and stem cell research, which hold a great potential as a tool for drug discovery and disease modeling. With such systems, the success rate in disease modeling, drug target identification, and anticancer screening could be accelerated and result in an emergence of a novel and effective therapeutic means as well as the development of tissue replacement substances that may transform our lives.