Breast Cancer Stem Cell Culture and Enrichment Using Poly("-Caprolactone) Scaffolds

The cancer stem cell (CSC) population displays self-renewal capabilities, resistance to conventional therapies, and a tendency to post-treatment recurrence. Increasing knowledge about CSCs’ phenotype and functions is needed to investigate new therapeutic strategies against the CSC population. Here, poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL), a biocompatible polymer free of toxic dye, has been used to fabricate scaffolds, solid structures suitable for 3D cancer cell culture. It has been reported that scaffold cell culture enhances the CSCs population. A RepRap BCN3D+ printer and 3 mm PCL wire were used to fabricate circular scaffolds. PCL design and fabrication parameters were first determined and then optimized considering several measurable variables of the resulting scaffolds. MCF7 breast carcinoma cell line was used to assess scaffolds adequacy for 3D cell culture. To evaluate CSC enrichment, the Mammosphere Forming Index (MFI) was performed in 2D and 3D MCF7 cultures. Results showed that the 60° scaffolds were more suitable for 3D culture than the 45° and 90° ones. Moreover, 3D culture experiments, in adherent and non-adherent conditions, showed a significant increase in MFI compared to 2D cultures (control). Thus, 3D cell culture with PCL scaffolds could be useful to improve cancer cell culture and enrich the CSCs population ​
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