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Epithelial ovarian cancer has the highest mortality rate of any gynecologic malignancy and most frequently metastasizes to the peritoneal cavity. Intraperitoneal metastases are highly associated with ascites, the pathologic accumulation of peritoneal fluid due to impaired drainage, increased peritoneal permeability, and tumor and stromal cytokine secretion. However, the relationship between ascites, vascular and mesothelial permeability, and ovarian cancer intraperitoneal metastases remains poorly understood. In this study, a vascularized in vitro model of the human peritoneal omentum and ovarian tumor microenvironment (TME) was employed to study stromal cell effects on tumor cell (TC) attachment and growth, as well as TC effects on vascular and mesothelial permeability in models of both early- and late-stage metastases. Control over the number of TCs seeded in the vascularized peritoneum revealed a critical cell density requirement for tumor growth, which was further enhanced by stromal adipocytes and endothelial cells found in the peritoneal omentum. This tumor growth resulted in both a physically-mediated decrease and cytokine-mediated increase in microvascular permeability, emphasizing the important and potentially opposing roles of tumor cells in ascites formation. This system provides a robust platform to elucidate TC-stromal cell interactions during intraperitoneal metastasis of ovarian cancer and presents the first in vitro vascularized model of the human peritoneum and ovarian cancer TME. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Lina I Ibrahim, Cynthia Hajal, Giovanni S Offeddu, Mark R Gillrie, Roger D Kamm. Omentum-on-a-chip: A multicellular, vascularized microfluidic model of the human peritoneum for the study of ovarian cancer metastases. Biomaterials. 2022 Sep;288:121728

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PMID: 35995621

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