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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Worldwide, substantial resources are spent on the treatment and life quality maintenance of cancer patients. Through concerted research efforts and the effective application of treatment strategies combining surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the median survival rates of many cancers have increased over the past few decades. However, many cancers remain difficult to treat, and they will require tremendous effort, at both the basic and translational level, to find a cure. In vitro cancer models, in which cancer growth and development are modeled in a controlled and designed laboratory setting, have played a vital role in advancing cancer research. In this chapter, we describe the contribution of classic 2D models before moving on the present hot topic of 3D models, from the most widely used cancer multicellular spheroids, to natural and synthetic scaffolds to create in vitro cancer models. Engineering approaches available for this modeling purpose will be explained accordingly. The last section of the chapter discusses the future challenges and opportunities faced by both cancer biologists and biomedical engineers who are working in this area. The recent advances in 3D in vitro models, especially cancer cells co-cultured with other cells types, and perfusion culture for cancer in vitro models are discussed in detail. Throughout the chapter, cancer cells, cancer tissue microenvironment and cancer therapeutics are considered together to serve as a basis for considerations to be taken when a proper cancer model is chosen or designed.

Original publication





Book title

Comprehensive Biotechnology

Publication Date



550 - 559