Tissue Architecture Influences the Biological Effectiveness of Boron Neutron Capture Therapy in In Vitro/In Silico Three-Dimensional Self-Assembly Cell Models of Pancreatic Cancers

Lin-Sheng Yu, Megha Jhunjhunwala, Shiao-Ya Hong, Lin-Yen Yu, Wey-Ran Lin, Chi-Shuo Chen
2021 Cancers  
Pancreatic cancer is a leading cause of cancer death, and boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) is one of the promising radiotherapy techniques for patients with pancreatic cancer. In this study, we evaluated the biological effectiveness of BNCT at multicellular levels using in vitro and in silico models. To recapture the phenotypic characteristic of pancreatic tumors, we developed a cell self-assembly approach with human pancreatic cancer cells Panc-1 and BxPC-3 cocultured with MRC-5
more » ... . On substrate with physiological stiffness, tumor cells self-assembled into 3D spheroids, and the cocultured fibroblasts further facilitated the assembly process, which recapture the influence of tumor stroma. Interestingly, after 1.2 MW neutron irradiation, lower survival rates and higher apoptosis (increasing by 4-fold for Panc-1 and 1.5-fold for BxPC-3) were observed in 3D spheroids, instead of in 2D monolayers. The unexpected low tolerance of 3D spheroids to BNCT highlights the unique characteristics of BNCT over conventional radiotherapy. The uptake of boron-containing compound boronophenylalanine (BPA) and the alteration of E-cadherin can partially contribute to the observed susceptibility. In addition to biological effects, the probability of induced α-particle exposure correlated to the multicellular organization was speculated to affect the cellular responses to BNCT. A Monte Carlo (MC) simulation was also established to further interpret the observed survival. Intracellular boron distribution in the multicellular structure and related treatment resistance were reconstructed in silico. Simulation results demonstrated that the physical architecture is one of the essential factors for biological effectiveness in BNCT, which supports our in vitro findings. In summary, we developed in vitro and in silico self-assembly 3D models to evaluate the effectiveness of BNCT on pancreatic tumors. Considering the easy-access of this 3D cell-assembly platform, this study may not only contribute to the current understanding of BNCT but is also expected to be applied to evaluate the BNCT efficacy for individualized treatment plans in the future.
doi:10.3390/cancers13164058 fatcat:pmfc562tqvenhobjheob4ya42u