3 Biotech

, 8:390 | Cite as

Evaluation of cancer stemness in breast cancer and glioblastoma spheroids in vitro

  • Açelya YilmazerEmail author
Original Article


In this study, the effect of spheroid formation, as a model of three-dimensional (3D) culture systems, on the cancer stemness of human breast cancer (MCF-7) and human glioma (U87-MG) cell lines was analyzed. We compared the expression of pluripotency genes, the presence of various cancer stem cell populations, migration and proliferation capacities of cells cultured as monolayers or spheroids. MCF-7 cells formed uniform spheroids in vitro, upregulated the expression of stem cell markers both at gene and protein levels and increased their migration capacities when cultured in 3D systems. When a CSC targeting metabolic drug, metformin was used, multiple drug resistance genes (ABC transporters) were downregulated and the anti-cancer activity of 5-fluorouracil was enhanced. In summary, this study proved that the use of 3D culture systems such as spheroids can be used in CSC-related research. Therefore, studies involving 3D culture systems will help scientists to discover new CSC markers, show more realistic drug responses, and better evaluate tumor proliferation and morphology changes.


3D cell culturing Spheroids Monolayer Cancer stem cell ABC transporter Metformin 



AY acknowledges support by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK, Grant Number 113S897).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

13205_2018_1412_MOESM1_ESM.docx (264 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 263 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biomedical Engineering Department, Engineering FacultyAnkara UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  2. 2.Stem Cell InstituteAnkara UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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