Interaction between human brain tumour biopsies and fetal rat brain tissue in vitro

O. Engebraaten*, R. Bjerkvig, M. Lund-Johansen, K. Wester, P. H. Pedersen, S. Mork, E. O. Backlund, O. D. Laerum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


The invasiveness of human intracranial tumours was studied in an organ culture system. Biopsies from six glioblastomas, four astrocytomas, two mixed gliomas, one ependymoma, four meningiomas and two carcinoma metastases were cut into fragments of 0.5 mm diameter, and placed in agar overlay tissue culture. The tumour specimens formed spheroids which were co-cultured with cell aggregates or fragments from fetal rat brain for up to 10 days in vitro. The invasiveness of the glioblastoma spheroids was characterised by a gradual destruction of normal brain tissue by tumour cells, followed by replacement of normal tissue by these cells. Cocultures from two glioblastomas showed lesions in the normal brain tissue in areas removed from the tumour cells. Tumour spheroids from four glioblastomas totally destroyed the normal brain tissue without any change in the original tumour spheroid configuration. The lowgrade gliomas were less invasive than the glioblastomas. The meningiomas and the metastases were non-invasive. This organ culture assay appeared to reflect the in situ invasive behaviour of the brain tumours examined. It is suggested that it may be used for evaluating the aggressiveness of individual brain tumours with the specific aim of correlating clinical data with the biological character of the tumour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-140
Number of pages11
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Biopsy
  • Brain
  • Glioma
  • Neoplasm invasiveness
  • Organ culture


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