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Personalized chordoma organoids for drug discovery studies

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Chordomas are rare tumors of notochordal origin, most commonly arising in the sacrum or skull base. Primary treatment of chordoma is surgery, however complete resection is not always feasible due to their anatomic location, and recurrence rates remain high. Chordomas are considered insensitive to conventional chemotherapy, and their rarity complicates running timely and adequately powered trials to identify effective regimens. Therefore, there is a need for discovery of novel therapeutic approaches. Drug discovery efforts in chordoma have been mostly limited to cell line models. Patient-derived organoids can accelerate drug discovery studies and predict patient responses to therapy. In this proof-of-concept study, we successfully established organoids from seven chordoma tumor samples obtained from five patients presenting with tumors in different sites and stages of disease. The organoids recapitulated features of the original parent tumors and inter-as well as intra-patient heterogeneity. High-throughput screenings performed on the organoids highlighted targeted agents such as PI3K/mTOR, EGFR, and JAK2/STAT3 inhibitors among the most effective molecules. Pathway analysis underscored how the NF-kB and IGF-1R pathways are sensitive to perturbations and potential targets to pursue for combination therapy of chordoma.

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