Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Three-Dimensional Culture

  • Kazi Mokim Ahmed
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_7138-4



Three-dimensional (3D) in vitro cultures closely resemble the in vivo environment with regard to cell shape and its inside and outside components, which can determine the behavior and gene expression of the cell. Reflecting natural conditions, these cultures allow for intercellular interactions with more realistic biochemical and physiological responses. In addition to the influence of this microenvironment on gene expression, cellular differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis, 3D cultures allow the study of cell–cell and cell–extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions. Using human cells, these cultures avoid the costly and complex problems presented by animal models and in vivo studies, thereby circumventing unpredictable characteristics and requirements for ethical approval. These factors thus render human cells an obvious choice for many experimental applications.


Comparison of 3D and 2D Cultures

Since the advent...


Mammary Gland Mammary Epithelial Cell Tissue Culture Plastic Lumen Formation Acinar Structure 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiation OncologyHouston Methodist Research InstituteHoustonUSA