News Release

From urine samples to precision medicine in bladder cancer through 3D cell culture

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology

Establishment of Urine-Derived Bladder Cancer Organoid Culture Method

image: Establishment of urine-derived bladder cancer organoid culture method view more 

Credit: Tatsuya Usui, DVM, PhD

A research collaboration led by scientists from institutions in Japan including Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) has developed a new experimental cancer model for dog bladder cancer. Urine samples were used for a 3D cell culture method called organoid culture. This method will allow us to quickly determine the proper chemotherapy and to identify new biomarkers of both dog and human bladder cancer in the near future.

The researchers published their results on July 23rd in Cancer Science.

About 0.01% of humans suffer from bladder cancer. The most common symptom of cancer is blood in the urine and pain during urination. In the United States, 80,470 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2019 and 17,670 are dead. About 90% of all bladder cancers are transitional cell carcinoma, which is usually invasive. In case of dogs, this cancer is detected very late, resulting in poor survival.

"For dogs, bladder cancer should be diagnosed as early as possible," said Tatsuya Usui, DVM, Ph.D., corresponding author on the paper and senior assistant professor in the Laboratory of Veterinary Pharmacology, Department of Veterinary Medicine at TUAT in Japan. "It was, however, very hard to grow bladder cancer cells on flat dishes, which is called a traditional 2D cell culture method." Those researchers then tried a 3D cell culture method called organoid culture. They collected urine samples from bladder cancer dogs and successfully grew bladder cancer cells in urine using this culture system. These cells grown in the 3D cell culture express the same set of genes as the original cancer tissues do.

"Those results encouraged us to test anti-cancer drugs on cells grown in the 3D cell culture. As we expected, the sensitivity of each drug can be easily monitored, " said Usui. "It is now possible that bladder cancer cells from each dog using this system can be treated by several anti-cancer drugs. We can then find which drug is more effective for each dog in the lab before actual treatment. So we would like to apply the system of urine sample-derived dog bladder cancer 3D culture to precision veterinary medicine. In addition, we opened a new avenue for establishing the novel therapeutic strategy against urological cancer in both dog and human."


For more information about the Usui laboratory, please visit

About Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT)

TUAT is a distinguished university in Japan dedicated to science and technology. TUAT focuses on agriculture and engineering that form the foundation of industry, and promotes education and research fields that incorporate them. Boasting a history of over 140 years since our founding in 1874, TUAT continues to boldly take on new challenges and steadily promote fields. With high ethics, TUAT fulfills social responsibility in the capacity of transmitting science and technology information towards the construction of a sustainable society where both human beings and nature can thrive in a symbiotic relationship. For more information, please visit

Original publication:

Cancer Sci. 2019 Jun 29.
Establishment of a novel experimental model for muscle-invasive bladder cancer using a dog bladder cancer organoid culture.
Elbadawy M, Usui T, Mori T, Tsunedomi R, Hazama S, Nabeta R, Uchide T, Fukushima R, Yoshida T, Shibutani M, Tanaka T, Masuda S, Okada R, Ichikawa R, Omatsu T, Mizutani T, Katayama Y, Noguchi S, Iwai S, Nakagawa T, Shinohara Y, Kaneda M, Yamawaki H, Sasaki K.

doi: 10.1111/cas.14118.


Tatsuya Usui, DVM, PhD.
Senior Assistant Professor
Laboratory of Veterinary Pharmacology, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Agriculture, TUAT, Japan

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.