This review article addresses the relevance and potential of bioartificial tissues in oncologic research and therapy and reconstructive oncologic surgery. In order to translate the findings from basic cellular research into clinical applications, cell-based models need to recapitulate both the 3D organization and multicellular complexity of an organ but at the same time accommodate systematic experimental intervention. Here, tissue engineering, the generation of human tissues and organs in vitro, provides new perspectives for basic and applied research by offering 3D tissue cultures resolving fundamental obstacles encountered in currently applied 2D and 3D cell culture systems. Tissue engineering has already been applied to create replacement structures for reconstructive surgery. Applied in vitro, these complex multicellular 3D tissue cultures mimic the microenvironment of human tissues. In contrast to the currently available cell culture systems providing only limited insight into the complex interactions in tissue differentiation, carcinogenesis, angiogenesis and the stromal reaction, the more realistic (micro)environment afforded by the bioartificial tissuespecific 3D test systems may accelerate the progress in design and development of cancer therapies.