Polymer Thin Film–Induced Tumor Spheroids Acquire Cancer Stem Cell–like Properties

Minsuk Choi, Seung J. Yu, Yoonjung Choi, Hak R. Lee, Eunbeol Lee, Eunjung Lee, Yumi Lee, Junhyuk Song, Jin G. Son, Tae G. Lee, Jin Y. Kim, Sukmo Kang, Jieung Baek, Daeyoup Lee, Sung G. Im, Sangyong Jon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Although cancer stem cells (CSC) are thought to be responsible for tumor recurrence and resistance to chemotherapy, CSC-related research and drug development have been hampered by the limited supply of diverse, patient-derived CSC. Here, we present a functional polymer thin film (PTF) platform that promotes conversion of cancer cells to highly tumorigenic three-dimensional (3D) spheroids without the use of biochemical or genetic manipulations. Culturing various human cancer cells on the specific PTF, poly(2,4,6,8tetravinyl-2,4,6,8-tetramethyl cyclotetrasiloxane) (pV4D4), gave rise to numerous multicellular tumor spheroids within 24 hours with high efficiency and reproducibility. Cancer cells in the resulting spheroids showed a significant increase in the expression of CSC-associated genes and acquired increased drug resistance compared with two-dimensional monolayer-cultured controls. These spheroids also exhibited enhanced xenograft tumor-forming ability and metastatic capacity in nude mice. By enabling the generation of tumorigenic spheroids from diverse cancer cells, the surface platform described here harbors the potential to contribute to CSC-related basic research and drug development. Significance: A new cell culture technology enables highly tumorigenic 3D spheroids to be easily generated from various cancer cell sources in the common laboratory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6890-6902
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Research
Issue number24
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Samsung Research Funding Center of Samsung Electronics (Project Number SRFC-MA1501-01).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Association for Cancer Research.


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