Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women worldwide. The search for novel compounds with antitumor activity, with less adverse effects and higher efficacy, and the development of methods to evaluate their toxicity is an area of intense research. In this study we implemented the preparation and culture of breast tumor explants, which were obtained from precision-cut breast tumor slices. In order to validate the model we are proposing to screen antineoplastic effect of natural compounds, we selected caffeic acid, ursolic acid, and rosmarinic acid. Using the Krumdieck tissue slicer, precision-cut tissue slices were prepared from breast cancer
samples; from these slices, 4 mm explants were obtained and incubated with the selected compounds. Viability was assessed by Alamar Blue assay, LDH release, and histopathological criteria. Results showed that the viability of the explants cultured in the presence of paclitaxel (positive control) decreased significantly (? < 0.05); however, tumor samples responded differently to each compound. When the explants were coincubated with paclitaxel and compounds, a synergic effect was observed. This study shows that ex vivo culture of breast cancer explants offers a suitable alternative model for evaluating natural or synthetic compounds with antitumor properties within the complex microenvironment of the tumor.