Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 9, 2013
Previous Article Next Article

Building risk-on-a-chip models to improve breast cancer risk assessment and prevention

Author affiliations


Preventive actions for chronic diseases hold the promise of improving lives and reducing healthcare costs. For several diseases, including breast cancer, multiple risk and protective factors have been identified by epidemiologists. The impact of most of these factors has yet to be fully understood at the organism, tissue, cellular and molecular levels. Importantly, combinations of external and internal risk and protective factors involve cooperativity thus, synergizing or antagonizing disease onset. Models are needed to mechanistically decipher cancer risks under defined cellular and microenvironmental conditions. Here, we briefly review breast cancer risk models based on 3D cell culture and propose to improve risk modeling with lab-on-a-chip approaches. We suggest epithelial tissue polarity, DNA repair and epigenetic profiles as endpoints in risk assessment models and discuss the development of ‘risks-on-chips’ integrating biosensors of these endpoints and of general tissue homeostasis. Risks-on-chips will help identify biomarkers of risk, serve as screening platforms for cancer preventive agents, and provide a better understanding of risk mechanisms, hence resulting in novel developments in disease prevention.

Graphical abstract: Building risk-on-a-chip models to improve breast cancer risk assessment and prevention

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 08 Mar 2013, accepted on 07 May 2013 and first published on 10 May 2013

Article type: Frontier
DOI: 10.1039/C3IB40053K
Integr. Biol., 2013,5, 1110-1118

Search articles by author