Nanomedicine internalization and penetration: why should we use spheroids?


  • Bárbara Pinto UNIPRO - Oral Pathology and Rehabilitation Research Unit, University Institute of Health Sciences (IUCS), CESPU, 4585-116 Gandra, Portugal; Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Institute of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
  • Catarina Pacheco UNIPRO - Oral Pathology and Rehabilitation Research Unit, University Institute of Health Sciences (IUCS), CESPU, 4585-116 Gandra, Portugal; i3S – Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde, Universidade do Porto, 4200-393 Porto, Portugal; INEB – Instituto Nacional de Engenharia Biomédica, Universidade do Porto, 4200-393 Porto, Portugal
  • Patrícia Silva UNIPRO - Oral Pathology and Rehabilitation Research Unit, University Institute of Health Sciences (IUCS), CESPU, 4585-116 Gandra, Portugal; TOXRUN – Toxicology Research Unit, University Institute of Health Sciences (IUCS), CESPU, 4585-116 Gandra, Portugal
  • Juliana Carvalho-Tavares Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Institute of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
  • Bruno Sarmento UNIPRO - Oral Pathology and Rehabilitation Research Unit, University Institute of Health Sciences (IUCS), CESPU, 4585-116 Gandra, Portugal; i3S – Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde, Universidade do Porto, 4200-393 Porto, Portugal; INEB – Instituto Nacional de Engenharia Biomédica, Universidade do Porto, 4200-393 Porto, Portugal
  • Hassan Bousbaa UNIPRO - Oral Pathology and Rehabilitation Research Unit, University Institute of Health Sciences (IUCS), CESPU, 4585-116 Gandra, Portugal; Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIIMAR), Universidade do Porto, 4450-208 Matosinhos, Portugal



3D tumour spheroids, cancer, nanomedicine, tumour microenvironment


Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and, despite medical advances in the development of new anticancer therapies, drug resistance, complicated side effects and poor efficacy remain a major public health problem. To breakdown the antisuppressive tumour strategies and to improve drug efficiency, nanomedicine is increasingly being used in anticancer therapy studies. Different in vitro experimental models and innovative approaches have been used in cancer research. In this aspect, 3D spheroids have become an attractive tool, overcoming many of the issues associated with using 2D models. Thus, in this review, an overview on 3D spheroids is provided, focusing on their use in the cancer field as a promising platform for nanomedicine studies. Thereafter, we highlight the main drug delivery systems currently developed and their applicability in 3D cell cultures.


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How to Cite

Pinto, B., Pacheco, C., Silva, P., Carvalho-Tavares , J., Sarmento, B., & Bousbaa, H. (2022). Nanomedicine internalization and penetration: why should we use spheroids?. Scientific Letters, 1(1), 3.




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