Editorial: Recent 3D Tumor Models for Testing Immune-Mediated Therapies

For a long time, cancer research was based on the culture of cell lines and primary tumor cells grown in 2 dimensions (2D), as well as on animal models mainly based on the use of rodents such as mice and rats. However, in vitro 2D conventional cell cultures fail to accurately predict the drug responses in humans, as they do not properly resemble the spatial complexity of the human tissue microenvironment; on the other side, research on living animals did not completely meet the public agreement, pointing out ethical questions which have been addressed and regulated by the European Community. In addition to the ethical issues, the heterogeneity of housing conditions, of microbiota and chow compositions and the inability to reproduce the complex interplay between tumor cells and human microenvironment represent additional weaknesses of the most utilized in vivo models.

Therefore, the progressive switch to 3D experimental material is accompanied by several advantages converging in a better reproducibility of the results among different labs.



This Research Topic is dedicated to some recent aspects of the 3D “revolution”, describing or reviewing in details the different models. The articles likewise critically discuss the most relevant weaknesses of the 3D models, also suggesting possible methodological approaches to address and resolve them.


Jacques Zimmer, Roberta Castriconi and Silvia Scaglione
Recent 3D Tumor Models for Testing Immune-Mediated Therapies – Frontiers in Immunology, 18 November 2021
Sec. Cancer Immunity and Immunotherapy