Promising xenograft animal model recapitulating the features of human pancreatic cancer

Promising xenograft animal model recapitulating the features of human pancreatic cancer

Abstract

Background: Multiple sites of metastasis and desmoplastic reactions in the stroma are key features of human pancreatic cancer (PC). There are currently no simple and reliable animal models that can mimic these features for accurate disease modeling.

Aim: To create a new xenograft animal model that can faithfully recapitulate the features of human PC.

Methods: Interleukin 2 receptor subunit gamma (IL2RG) gene knockout Syrian hamster was created and characterized. A panel of human PC cell lines were transplanted into IL2RG knockout Syrian hamsters and severe immune-deficient mice subcutaneously or orthotopically. Tumor growth, local invasion, remote organ metastasis, histopathology, and molecular alterations of tumor cells and stroma were compared over time.

Results: The Syrian hamster with IL2RG gene knockout (named ZZU001) demonstrated an immune-deficient phenotype and function. ZZU001 hamsters faithfully recapitulated most features of human PC, in particular, they developed metastasis at multiple sites. PC tissues derived from ZZU001 hamsters displayed desmoplastic reactions in the stroma and epithelial to mesenchymal transition phenotypes, whereas PC tissues derived from immune-deficient mice did not present such features.

Conclusion: ZZU001 hamsters engrafted with human PC cells are a superior animal model compared to immune-deficient mice. ZZU001 hamsters can be a valuable animal model for better understanding the molecular mechanism of tumorigenesis and metastasis and the evaluation of new drugs targeting human PC.

Keywords: Animal model; IL-2 receptor gamma chain gene; Metastasis; Pancreatic cancer; Syrian hamster; Xenotrans plantation.

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