Development of bioluminescent chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) models for primary pancreatic cancer cells: A platform for drug testing

Maria Rovithi, Amir Avan, Niccola Funel, Leticia G. Leon, Valentina E. Gomez, Thomas Wurdinger, Arjan W. Griffioen, Henk M.W. Verheul, Elisa Giovannetti*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to develop chick-embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) bioluminescent tumor models employing low passage cell cultures obtained from primary pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells. Primary PDAC cells transduced with lentivirus expressing Firefly-luciferase (Fluc) were established and inoculated onto the CAM membrane, with >80% engraftment. Fluc signal reliably correlated with tumor growth. Tumor features were evaluated by immunohistochemistry and genetic analyses, including analysis of mutations and mRNA expression of PDAC pivotal genes, as well as microRNA (miRNA) profiling. These studies showed that CAM tumors had histopathological and genetic characteristic comparable to the original tumors. We subsequently tested the modulation of key miRNAs and the activity of gemcitabine and crizotinib on CAM tumors, showing that combination treatment resulted in 63% inhibition of tumor growth as compared to control (p < 0.01). These results were associated with reduced expression of miR-21 and increased expression of miR-155. Our study provides the first evidence that transduced primary PDAC cells can form tumors on the CAM, retaining several histopathological and (epi)genetic characteristics of original tumors. Moreover, our results support the use of these models for drug testing, providing insights on molecular mechanisms underlying antitumor activity of new drugs/combinations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number44686
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2017

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