Publications & Posters

Integrated multi-omics analyses on patient-derived CRC organoids highlight altered molecular pathways in colorectal cancer progression involving PTEN

Journal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research | June 21, 2021

Codrich M, Dalla E, Mio C, Antoniali G, Malfatti MC, Marzinotto S, Pierobon M, Baldelli E, Di Loreto C, Damante G, Terrosu G, Pucillo CEM and Tell G

Journal of experimental & clinical cancer research: CR. 2021;40:198




Colorectal cancer (CRC) represents the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths. The heterogeneity of CRC identity limits the usage of cell lines to study this type of tumor because of the limited representation of multiple features of the original malignancy. Patient-derived colon organoids (PDCOs) are a promising 3D-cell model to study tumor identity for personalized medicine, although this approach still lacks detailed characterization regarding molecular stability during culturing conditions. Correlation analysis that considers genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic data, as well as thawing, timing, and culturing conditions, is missing.


Through integrated multi–omics strategies, we characterized PDCOs under different growing and timing conditions, to define their ability to recapitulate the original tumor.


Whole Exome Sequencing allowed detecting temporal acquisition of somatic variants, in a patient-specific manner, having deleterious effects on driver genes CRC-associated. Moreover, the targeted NGS approach confirmed that organoids faithfully recapitulated patients’ tumor tissue. Using RNA-seq experiments, we identified 5125 differentially expressed transcripts in tumor versus normal organoids at different time points, in which the PTEN pathway resulted of particular interest, as also confirmed by further phospho-proteomics analysis. Interestingly, we identified the PTEN c.806_817dup (NM_000314) mutation, which has never been reported previously and is predicted to be deleterious according to the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) classification.


The crosstalk of genomic, transcriptomic and phosphoproteomic data allowed to observe that PDCOs recapitulate, at the molecular level, the tumor of origin, accumulating mutations over time that potentially mimic the evolution of the patient’s tumor, underlining relevant potentialities of this 3D model.