3D Tumor Models and Time-Lapse Analysis by Multidimensional Microscopy

  • Dimitri Scholz
  • Nobue ItasakiEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1379)


The 3D culture is advantageous in reflecting the in vivo condition compared to the 2D culture; however, imaging 3D-cultured cells may be a challenge due to technical restrictions. Recent development of confocal spinning disc microscope system as well as sophisticated software has enabled us to monitor dynamism of cell movement in multiple dimensions. Here we describe the method for time-lapse imaging of 3D-cultured cancer cells co-cultured with non-cancerous cells and discuss current limitations and future perspectives.

Key words

Three-dimensional culture Time-lapse imaging Multidimensional microscopy Live cell imaging Deconvolution 



We thank K. Welzel, L. Ivers, and F. Owolabi for their support and acquisition of images. This work was funded by University College Dublin Core Funding to NI.


  1. 1.
    Kenny PA, Lee GY, Myers CA et al (2007) The morphologies of breast cancer cell lines in three-dimensional assays correlate with their profiles of gene expression. Mol Oncol 1(1):84–96PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Weaver VM, Petersen OW, Wang F et al (1997) Reversion of the malignant phenotype of human breast cells in three-dimensional culture and in vivo by integrin blocking antibodies. J Cell Biol 137(1):231–245PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Dhiman HK, Ray AR, Panda AK (2005) Three-dimensional chitosan scaffold-based MCF-7 cell culture for the determination of the cytotoxicity of tamoxifen. Biomaterials 26(9):979–986CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ivers LP, Cummings B, Owolabi F et al (2014) Dynamic and influential interaction of cancer cells with normal epithelial cells in 3D culture. Cancer Cell Int 14(1):108PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Howes AL, Richardson RD, Finlay D et al (2014) 3-Dimensional culture systems for anti-cancer compound profiling and high-throughput screening reveal increases in EGFR inhibitor-mediated cytotoxicity compared to monolayer culture systems. PLoS One 9(9):e108283PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Chambers KF, Mosaad EM, Russell PJ et al (2014) 3D cultures of prostate cancer cells cultured in a novel high-throughput culture platform are more resistant to chemotherapeutics compared to cells cultured in monolayer. PLoS One 9(11):e111029PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Eichler M, Jahnke HG, Krinke D et al (2014) A novel 96-well multielectrode array based impedimetric monitoring platform for comparative drug efficacy analysis on 2D and 3D brain tumor cultures. Biosens Bioelectron. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2014.09.049 Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Abbott A (2003) Cell culture: biology’s new dimension. Nature 424(6951):870–872CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kleinman HK, McGarvey ML, Hassell JR et al (1986) Basement membrane complexes with biological activity. Biochemistry 25(2):312–318CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Movia D, Gerard V, Maguire CM et al (2014) A safe-by-design approach to the development of gold nanoboxes as carriers for internalization into cancer cells. Biomaterials 35(9):2543–2557CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Conway InstituteUniversity College DublinDublinIreland
  2. 2.School of Medicine and Medical ScienceUniversity College DublinDublinIreland
  3. 3.Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of BristolBristolUK

Personalised recommendations