Organoid and spheroid tumor models: Techniques and applications

Sreenivasulu Gunti, Austin T.K. Hoke, Kenny P. Vu, Nyall R. London

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Techniques to develop three‐dimensional cell culture models are rapidly expanding to bridge the gap between conventional cell culture and animal models. Organoid and spheroid cultures have distinct and overlapping purposes and differ in cellular sources and protocol for establishment. Spheroids are of lower complexity structurally but are simple and popular models for drug screening. Organoids histologically and genetically resemble the original tumor from which they were derived. Ease of generation, ability for long‐term culture and cryopreservation make organoids suitable for a wide range of applications. Organoids‐on‐chip models combine organoid methods with powerful designing and fabrication of micro‐chip technology. Organoid‐chip models can emulate the dynamic microenvironment of tumor pathophysiology as well as tissue–tissue interactions. In this review, we outline different tumor spheroid and organoid models and techniques to establish them. We also discuss the recent advances and applications of tumor organoids with an emphasis on tumor modeling, drug screening, personalized medicine and immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number874
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2 2021


  • Air–liquid interface
  • Drug screening
  • Immunotherapy
  • Microfluidics
  • Organoid biobanks
  • Organoids
  • Organoids‐on‐chip
  • Personalized medicine
  • Spheroids
  • Tumor modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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