Int J Biol Sci 2022; 18(7):2729-2743. doi:10.7150/ijbs.70406 This issue


Organoids in recapitulating tumorigenesis driven by risk factors: Current trends and future perspectives

Jie Zhang1#, Lei Wang1#, Qianqian Song2, Mingbing Xiao1, Jie Gao3, Xiaolei Cao3✉, Wenjie Zheng1✉

1. Research Center of Clinical Medicine, Affiliated Hospital of Nantong University, 20 Xisi Road, 226001 Nantong, Jiangsu, China.
2. Department of Radiology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, One Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, 27157 NC, USA.
3. School of Medicine, Nantong University, 19 Qixiu Road, 226001 Nantong, Jiangsu, China.
# Jie Zhang and Lei Wang contributed equally to this study.

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Zhang J, Wang L, Song Q, Xiao M, Gao J, Cao X, Zheng W. Organoids in recapitulating tumorigenesis driven by risk factors: Current trends and future perspectives. Int J Biol Sci 2022; 18(7):2729-2743. doi:10.7150/ijbs.70406. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Environmental and exogenous/ endogenous factors, in a setting of individual genetic predisposition, contribute to the cancer development. Over the years, epidemical evidence increasingly highlights the correlations of multiple cancer incentives and genetic alterations with cancer incidence. Unraveling the pivotal carcinogenesis events prompted by particular risk factors remarkably advances early surveillance and oncogenesis intervening. Traditional cell-based models and animal-based models are unrealistic and unreliable for translational study, respectively ascribing to the limited tumor heterogeneity and species-related variation. Organoid emerged as a fidelity model that well preserves the properties of its origin. With inherent quality of holistic perspective, organoid is therefore ideally suited for delineating the carcinogenesis under risk exposure, in favor of understanding pathogen-host interactions and alleviating cancer initiation. In this review, we have summarized the organoid model-based evidence that identified or validated carcinogenic risks, mainly including diet, aging, microbial infection, and chemical exposure. In addition, we envisioned the exciting prospect of organoid model in screening promising treatment and/or prevention during tumorigenesis. As a robust 3D in vitro system, organoid has been widespread applied in basial and clinical cancer research, which may elucidate crucial mechanisms of oncogenesis and develop novel targeting strategies.

Keywords: Organoid, Carcinogenesis, Risk factors, Robust model, Prospect outlook