New publication: Viability Analysis and High-Content Live-Cell Imaging for Drug Testing in Prostate Cancer Xenograft-Derived Organoids


Tumor organoids have been pushed forward as advanced model systems for in vitro oncology drug testing, with the eventual goal to direct personalized cancer treatments. However, drug testing efforts suffer from a large variation in experimental conditions for organoid culturing and organoid treatment. Moreover, most drug tests are restricted to whole-well viability as the sole read-out, thereby losing important information about key biological aspects that might be impacted due to the use of administered drugs. These bulk read-outs also discard potential inter-organoid heterogeneity in drug responses. To tackle these issues, we developed a systematic approach for processing organoids from prostate cancer (PCa) patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) for viability-based drug testing and identified essential conditions and quality checks for consistent results. In addition, we generated an imaging-based drug testing procedure using high-content fluorescence microscopy in living PCa organoids to detect various modalities of cell death. Individual organoids and cell nuclei in organoids were segmented and quantified using a dye combination of Hoechst 33342, propidium iodide and Caspase 3/7 Green, allowing the identification of cytostatic and cytotoxic treatment effects. Our procedures provide important insights into the mechanistic actions of tested drugs. Moreover, these methods can be adapted for tumor organoids originating from other cancer types to increase organoid-based drug test validity, and ultimately, accelerate clinical implementation.

Annelies Van Hemelryk 1Sigrun Erkens-Schulze 1Lifani Lim 1Corrina M A de Ridder 1Debra C Stuurman 1Guido W Jenster 1Martin E van Royen 2Wytske M van Weerden 1

Jul 6, 2023