Chemosensitivity of 3D Pancreatic Cancer Organoids Is Not Affected by Transformation to 2D Culture or Switch to Physiological Culture Medium

Vincent Gassl, Merel R Aberle, Bas Boonen, Rianne D W Vaes, Steven W M Olde Damink, Sander S Rensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Organoids are increasingly used to investigate patient-specific drug responsiveness, but organoid culture is complex and expensive, and carried out in rich, non-physiological media. We investigated reproducibility of drug-responsiveness of primary cell cultures in 2D versus 3D and in conventional versus physiological cell culture medium. 3D pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma organoid cultures PANCO09b and PANCO11b were converted to primary cell cultures growing in 2D. Transformed 2D cultures were grown in physiological Plasmax medium or Advanced-DMEM/F12. Sensitivity towards gemcitabine, paclitaxel, SN-38, 5-fluorouacil, and oxaliplatin was investigated by cell viability assays. Growth rates of corresponding 2D and 3D cultures were comparable. PANCO09b had a shorter doubling time in physiological media. Chemosensitivity of PANCO09b and PANCO11b grown in 2D or 3D was similar, except for SN-38, to which PANCO11b cultured in 3D was more sensitive (2D: 8.2 ×10-3 ± 2.3 ×10-3 vs. 3D: 1.1 ×10-3 ± 0.6 ×10-3, p = 0.027). PANCO09b and PANCO11b showed no major differences in chemosensitivity when cultured in physiological compared to conventional media, although PANCO11b was more sensitive to SN-38 in physiological media (9.8 × 10-3 ± 0.7 × 10-3 vs. 5.2 × 10-3 ± 1.8 × 10-3, p = 0.015). Collectively, these data indicate that the chemosensitivity of organoids is not affected by culture medium composition or culture dimensions. This implies that organoid-based drug screens can be simplified to become more cost-effective.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2022

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