Humanization of tumor stroma by tissue engineering as a tool to improve squamous cell carcinoma xenograft Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2020

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 10


  • 6, 1951


  • 21

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1661-6596

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1422-0067


  • The role of stroma is fundamental in the development and behavior of epithelial tumors. In this regard, limited growth of squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) or cell-lines derived from them has been achieved in immunodeficient mice. Moreover, lack of faithful recapitulation of the original human neoplasia complexity is often observed in xenografted tumors. Here, we used tissue engineering techniques to recreate a humanized tumor stroma for SCCs grafted in host mice, by combining CAF (cancer associated fibroblasts)-like cells with a biocompatible scaffold. The stroma was either co-injected with epithelial cell lines derived from aggressive SCC or implanted 15 days before the injection of the tumoral cells, to allow its vascularization and maturation. None of the mice injected with the cell lines without stroma were able to develop a SCC. In contrast, tumors were able to grow when SCC cells were injected into previously established humanized stroma. Histologically, all of the regenerated tumors were moderately differentiated SCC with a well-developed stroma, resembling that found in the original human neoplasm. Persistence of human stromal cells was also confirmed by immunohistochemistry. In summary, we provide a proof of concept that humanized tumor stroma, generated by tissue engineering, can facilitate the development of epithelial tumors in immunodeficient mice


  • Biology and Biomedicine
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • caf; scc; stroma; tissue engineering; tumor; xenografts