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Karen Aughton, Haleh Shahidipour, Luna Djirackor, Sarah E. Coupland, Helen Kalirai; Characterization of Uveal Melanoma Cell Lines and Primary Tumor Samples in 3D Culture. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2020;9(7):39. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.7.39.
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Uveal melanoma (UM) typically spreads to the liver, where it is incurable, as there are limited therapeutic interventions available. This study aimed to standardize laboratory methods for generating three-dimensional (3D) spheroids using UM cell lines and primary UM (PUM) samples for use in drug screening.
Six UM cell lines and nine PUM, of differing genetic characteristics were cultured in two dimensions (2D) and three dimensions. 3D spheroid formation and growth were time monitored, and ImageJ software was used to calculate cross-sectional areas. PUM spheroids underwent immunohistochemistry for melanoma markers, nuclear BAP1, and cell proliferation. Chromosomal alterations in patient UM biopsies were compared with the corresponding 3D spheroid. In vitro drug assays testing doxorubicin and selumetinib assessed drug penetration and toxicity after 48 hours using imaging and the CellTiter-Glo 3D Cell Viability Assay.
All six UM cell lines formed spheroids of varying sizes and compactness; six of the nine PUM samples (67%) also formed spheroids, composed of MelanA+ proliferating melanocytes and admixed macrophages. PUM spheroids were genetically identical to the original sampled tumor. In vitro drug assays showed varying penetrations into UM cell line spheroids, with doxorubicin passing into the spheroid core and selumetinib having an effect largely on peripheral cells. Both drugs caused a dose-dependent reduction in viability of 3D spheroid cells.
UM cell lines and PUM samples can successfully generate uniform 3D spheroids. PUM spheroids retain histological and genetic characteristics of the primary tumor. 3D spheroids are an important system for use in future high-throughput drug testing.
The use of 3D spheroids allows early-phase drug screening and is an important first step toward treatment personalization for UM patients.
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