Medium-Throughput Drug- and Radiotherapy Screening Assay using Patient-Derived Organoids

Marrit Putker, Rosemary Millen, René Overmeer, Else Driehuis, Maurice M J M Zandvliet, Hans Clevers, Sylvia F Boj, Qi-Xiang Li

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Patient-derived organoid (PDO) models allow for long-term expansion and maintenance of primary epithelial cells grown in three dimensions and a near-native state. When derived from resected or biopsied tumor tissue, organoids closely recapitulate in vivo tumor morphology and can be used to study therapy response in vitro. Biobanks of tumor organoids reflect the vast variety of clinical tumors and patients and therefore hold great promise for preclinical and clinical applications. This paper presents a method for medium-throughput drug screening using head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and colorectal adenocarcinoma organoids. This approach can easily be adopted for use with any tissue-derived organoid model, both normal and diseased. Methods are described for in vitro exposure of organoids to chemo- and radiotherapy (either as single-treatment modality or in combination). Cell survival after 5 days of drug exposure is assessed by measuring adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels. Drug sensitivity is measured by the half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50), area under the curve (AUC), and growth rate (GR) metrics. These parameters can provide insight into whether an organoid culture is deemed sensitive or resistant to a particular treatment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number170
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2021


  • Adenocarcinoma/drug therapy
  • Antineoplastic Agents/pharmacology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical/methods
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Organoids/drug effects
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck/drug therapy


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