Adjustable and Versatile 3D Tumor Spheroid Culture Platform with Interfacial Elastomeric Wells

Hyun Ji An, Hyo Sil Kim, Jung A. Kwon, Jihwan Song, Inhee Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Three-dimensional (3D) cell culture platforms have recently received a great deal of attention, as these systems are able to recapitulate the in vivo microenvironment of tissues or tumors. Herein, we describe adjustable and versatile elastomeric well structures for spheroid formation and their use for in situ analyses as a tunable 3D cell culture platform. Elastomeric spherical wells are fabricated using a one-step interfacial reaction between aqueous droplets on immiscible liquid polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) without any template or expensive equipment. Because of their differing surface tensions, spherical wells are spontaneously formed on liquid PDMS with various sizes and curvatures that are easily controlled. Using arrays of these optimized wells, single tumor spheroids within each well were successfully formed at high efficiency (up to 97%) by coculturing tumor cells and fibroblasts to reflect the complex microenvironment of cancer tissue. Moreover, the tumor spheroids formed within the interfacial wells were directly applied for observing drug responses and monitoring reactive oxygen species (ROS) to investigate tumor cell responses to drugs or their 3D microenvironment. We believe that our proposed platform provides a significant contribution to the multimodal analyses of anticancer therapeutics and the tumor microenvironment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6924-6932
Number of pages9
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Issue number6
StatePublished - 12 Feb 2020


  • 3D cell culture platform
  • drug screening
  • elastomeric well
  • polydimethylsiloxane
  • spheroid formation


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