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Open Access Feasibility and Limits of an Orthotopic Human Colon Cancer Model in Nude Mice

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Abstract:

We sought to develop an accurate colorectal cancer model in nude mice with stable local growth, tumor cell dissemination, and reproducible metastatic capacity. To this end, we orthotopically transplanted histologically intact human colorectal cancer tissue from 10 human patients into nude mice. After successful local tumor growth, tumor tissues were retransplanted as many as 9 times in serial passage. All specimens were transplanted using microsurgical techniques. Histologic, immunohistochemical, and polymerase chain reaction techniques were used to determine tumor growth rates and kinetics, development of regional lymph node and distant hepatic metastases, and the induction of minimal residual disease (MRD). Stable local tumor growth rates with variable growth kinetics were detected in 73.4% of all mice. The lymph node and hepatic metastasis rates were low, at 18.4% and 4.9%, respectively. MRD, as reflected by CK20 positivity of the bone marrow in animals with lymph node and hepatic metastases, was present in 22.2%. The orthotopic colorectal cancer model described here is feasible for the induction of reproducible local tumor growth but is limited by variable growth kinetics and the low rate of lymph node and hepatic metastases. Cytokeratin-positive cells indicative of MRD could be detected in the bone marrow of approximately 25% of the nude mice with metastases. The observed induction of MRD after orthotopic implantation of intact human colon cancer in animals with lymph node and hepatic metastases might be improved if established colon cancer cell lines were used.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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