Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 18;13(1):1466. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-28788-6.
Patient-derived tumor organoids (PDOs) are a highly promising preclinical model that recapitulates the histology, gene expression, and drug response of the donor patient tumor. Currently, PDO culture relies on basement-membrane extract (BME), which suffers from batch-to-batch variability, the presence of xenogeneic compounds and residual growth factors, and poor control of mechanical properties. Additionally, for the development of new organoid lines from patient-derived xenografts, contamination of murine host cells poses a problem. We propose a nanofibrillar hydrogel (EKGel) for the initiation and growth of breast cancer PDOs. PDOs grown in EKGel have histopathologic features, gene expression, and drug response that are similar to those of their parental tumors and PDOs in BME. In addition, EKGel offers reduced batch-to-batch variability, a range of mechanical properties, and suppressed contamination from murine cells. These results show that EKGel is an improved alternative to BME matrices for the initiation, growth, and maintenance of breast cancer PDOs.