Organoid Models of Colorectal Pathology: Do They Hold the Key to Personalized Medicine? A Systematic Review

Reece K. Dehaan, Samaneh K. Sarvestani, Emina H. Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer and IBD account for a large portion of the practice of colorectal surgery. Historical research models have provided insights into the underlying causes of these diseases but come with many limitations. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to systematically review the literature regarding the advantage of organoid models in modeling benign and malignant colorectal pathology. DATA SOURCES: Sources included PubMed, Ovid-Medline, and Ovid Embase STUDY SELECTION: Two reviewers completed a systematic review of the literature between January 2006 and January of 2020 for studies related to colon and intestinal organoids. Reviews, commentaries, protocols, and studies not performed in humans or mice were excluded. RESULTS: A total of 73 articles were included. Organoid models of colorectal disease have been rising in popularity to further elucidate the genetic, transcriptomic, and treatment response of these diseases at the individual level. Increasingly complex models utilizing coculture techniques are being rapidly developed that allow in vitro recapitulation of the disease microenvironment. LIMITATIONS: This review is only qualitative, and the lack of well utilized nomenclature in the organoid community may have resulted in the exclusion of articles. CONCLUSIONS: Historical disease models including cell lines, patient-derived tumor xenografts, and animal models have created a strong foundation for our understanding of colorectal pathology. Recent advances in 3-dimensional cell cultures, in the form of patient-derived epithelial organoids and induced human intestinal organoids have opened a new avenue for high-resolution analysis of pathology at the level of an individual patient. Recent research has shown the potential of organoids as a tool for personalized medicine with their ability to retain patient characteristics, including treatment response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1559-1569
Number of pages11
JournalDiseases of the Colon and Rectum
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Organoids
  • Personalized medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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