Seokgyu Han 1, Sein Kim 2, Zhenzhong Chen 1, Hwa Kyoung Shin 3,4,5, Seo-Yeon Lee 6, Hyo Eun Moon 7,8, Sun Ha Paek 7,8 and Sungsu Park 1,2,9,10,*
An in vitro screening system for anti-cancer drugs cannot exactly reflect the efficacy of drugs in vivo, without mimicking the tumour microenvironment (TME), which comprises cancer cells interacting with blood vessels and fibroblasts. Additionally, the tumour size should be controlled to obtain reliable and quantitative drug responses. Herein, we report a bioprinting method for recapitulating the TME with a controllable spheroid size. The TME was constructed by printing a blood vessel layer consisting of fibroblasts and endothelial cells in gelatine, alginate, and fibrinogen, followed by seeding multicellular tumour spheroids (MCTSs) of glioblastoma cells (U87 MG) onto the blood vessel layer. Under MCTSs, sprouts of blood vessels were generated and surrounding MCTSs thereby increasing the spheroid size. The combined treatment involving the anti-cancer drug temozolomide (TMZ) and the angiogenic inhibitor sunitinib was more effective than TMZ alone for MCTSs surrounded by blood vessels, which indicates the feasibility of the TME for in vitro testing of drug efficacy. These results suggest that the bioprinted vascularized tumour is highly useful for understanding tumour biology, as well as for in vitro drug testing.