Dual-degradable and injectable hyaluronic acid hydrogel mimicking extracellular matrix for 3D culture of breast cancer MCF-7 cells.


Department of Oncology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710061, China. Electronic address: [Email]


In tumor biology, it is widely recognized that 3D rather than 2D cell culture can recapitulate key features of solid tumors, including cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions. In this study, to mimick the ECM of breast cancer, hyaluronic acid (HA) hydrogels were synthesized from two polyvalent HA derivatives through a hydrazone and photo dual crosslinking process. HA hydrogels could be formed within 120 s. The hydrogels had similar topography and mechanical properties to breast tumor and displayed glutathione and hyaluronidase dual-responsive degradation behavior. Biological studies demonstrated that HA hydrogel could support the proliferation and clustering of breast cancer MCF-7 cells. The expression levels of VEGF, IL-8 and bFGF in hydrogel-cultured cells were significantly greater than those in 2D culture. Moreover, cells from hydrogel culture exhibited greater migration/invasion abilities and tumorigenicity than 2D-cultured cells. Therefore, the HA hydrogels are a promising ECM-mimicking matrix for in vitro construction of breast cancer.


3D culture,Breast cancer,Hyaluronic acid,Hydrogel,Tumor engineering,Tumor microenvironment,