Preserved genetic diversity in organoids cultured from biopsies of human colorectal cancer metastases

Fleur Weeber, Marc van de Wetering, Marlous Hoogstraat, Krijn K Dijkstra, Oscar Krijgsman, Thomas Kuilman, Christa G M Gadellaa-van Hooijdonk, Daphne L van der Velden, Daniel S Peeper, Edwin P J G Cuppen, Robert G Vries, Hans Clevers, Emile E Voest

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

294 Citations (Scopus)


Tumor organoids are 3D cultures of cancer cells. They can be derived from the tumor of each individual patient, thereby providing an attractive ex vivo assay to tailor treatment. Using patient-derived tumor organoids for this purpose requires that organoids derived from biopsies maintain the genetic diversity of the in vivo tumor. In this study tumor biopsies were obtained from 14 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (i) to test the feasibility of organoid culture from metastatic biopsy specimens and (ii) to compare the genetic diversity of patient-derived tumor organoids and the original tumor biopsy. Genetic analysis was performed using SOLiD sequencing for 1,977 cancer-relevant genes. Copy number profiles were generated from sequencing data using CopywriteR. Here we demonstrate that organoid cultures can be established from tumor biopsies of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer with a success rate of 71%. Genetic analysis showed that organoids reflect the metastasis from which they were derived. Ninety percent of somatic mutations were shared between organoids and biopsies from the same patient, and the DNA copy number profiles of organoids and the corresponding original tumor show a correlation of 0.89. Most importantly, none of the mutations that were found exclusively in either the tumor or organoid culture are in driver genes or genes amenable for drug targeting. These findings support further exploration of patient-derived organoids as an ex vivo platform to personalize anticancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13308-11
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number43
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2015


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