Modeling cachexia-associated muscle alterations with patient-derived pancreatic tumor organoids

Rianne Vaes

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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Cancer cachexia is a serious condition that affects 50-80% of all cancer patients. It is most common in patients with pancreatic cancer and is characterized mainly by severe weight loss and loss of muscle mass and muscle strength. In order to prevent, recognise early and treat cancer cachexia, it is important to better understand the underlying mechanisms. Cachexia research frequently uses experimental models, including two-dimensional cell culture systems and animal models. One of the shortcomings of these experimental cancer cachexia models is that they are not representative of cancer cachexia syndrome in humans. Therefore, new experimental models are necessary that have the cachexia characteristics found in the patient. New technological developments have led to the development of so-called organoid technology. Organoids are self-organising three-dimensional structures grown from stem cells. Organoids can be grown from patient tissue, both from healthy tissue and from tumour tissue, thereby maintaining important functional and structural properties of the organ from which they were grown. This study has shown that tumour organoids are a possible new platform that can be used in cancer cachexia research. Functional studies with tumour organoids yielded new insights on the direct effect of excretions by tumour cells on skeletal muscle cells.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Olde Damink, Steven, Supervisor
  • Rensen, Sander, Co-Supervisor
Award date20 May 2021
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789464232219
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • pancreatic cancer
  • cachexia
  • tumour organoids
  • skeletal muscle
  • smooth muscle

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