The advantages of co-culture over mono cell culture in simulating in vivo environment

Yasuhiro Miki, Katsuhiko Ono, Shuko Hata, Takashi Suzuki, Hiroyuki Kumamoto, Hironobu Sasano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)


Breast cancer tissue consists of both carcinoma cells and stromal cells, and intratumoral stroma is composed of various cell types such as fibroblasts, adipocytes, inflammatory including lymphocytes and macrophage and lymphatic and blood capillaries including pericytes and endothelial cells. Recently, cell-cell communications or interactions among these cells have been considered to play an important role to cancer initiation, promotion, and progression. In particular, intratumoral fibroblasts are well known as cancer-associated fibroblast (CAF). CAF is considered to be different from normal fibroblasts in terms of promoting cancer progression through the cytokine signals. Carcinoma cell lines have contributed to the advancement of our understanding of cancer cell biology. Numerous researches have employed these carcinoma cell lines as a single- or mono-culture. However, it is also true that this mono-culture system cannot evaluate interactions between carcinoma and intratumoral stromal cells. Co-culture compositions of two different cell type of cancer tissues i.e., carcinoma cell lines and fibroblasts, were established in order to evaluate cell-cell interactions in these cancer microenvironment. This co-culture condition has the advantage of evaluating cell-cell interactions of cancer microenvironment. Therefore, in this review, we focused upon co-culture system and its application to understanding of various biological phenomenon as an ex vivo evaluation method of cancer microenvironment in breast cancer. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Steroids and cancer'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number3-5
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Sept


  • Aromatase
  • Breast carcinoma
  • Cancer microenvironment
  • Co-culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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