[Wang R, Xu J, Juliette L, Castilleja A, Love J, Sung SY, Zhau HE, Goodwin TJ, Chung LW. Three-dimensional co-culture models to study prostate cancer growth, progression, and metastasis to bone. Semin Cancer Biol. 2005 Oct;15(5):353-64.]
Cancer-stromal interaction results in the co-evolution of both the cancer cells and the surrounding host stromal cells. As a consequence of this interaction, cancer cells acquire increased malignant potential and stromal cells become more inductive. In this review we suggest that cancer-stromal interaction can best be investigated by three-dimensional (3D) co-culture models with the results validated by clinical specimens. We showed that 3D culture promoted bone formation in vitro, and explored for the first time, with the help of the astronauts of the Space Shuttle Columbia, the co-culture of human prostate cancer and bone cells to further understand the interactions between these cells. Continued exploration of cancer growth under 3D conditions will rapidly lead to new discoveries and ultimately to improvements in the treatment of men with hormonal refractory prostate cancer.