Hepatocellular Carcinoma Xenografts Established From Needle Biopsies Preserve the Characteristics of the Originating Tumors.

Blumer, Tanja; Fofana, Isabel; Matter, Matthias S; Wang, Xueya; Montazeri, Hesam; Calabrese, Diego; Coto-Llerena, Mairene; Boldanova, Tujana; Nuciforo, Sandro; Kancherla, Venkatesh; Tornillo, Luigi; Piscuoglio, Salvatore; Wieland, Stefan; Terracciano, Luigi M; Ng, Kiu Yan Charlotte; Heim, Markus H (2019). Hepatocellular Carcinoma Xenografts Established From Needle Biopsies Preserve the Characteristics of the Originating Tumors. Hepatology communications, 3(7), pp. 971-986. Wiley 10.1002/hep4.1365

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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Treatment options for patients with advanced-stage disease are limited. A major obstacle in drug development is the lack of an in vivo model that accurately reflects the broad spectrum of human HCC. Patient-derived xenograft (PDX) tumor mouse models could overcome the limitations of cancer cell lines. PDX tumors maintain the genetic and histologic heterogeneity of the originating tumors and are used for preclinical drug development in various cancers. Controversy exists about their genetic and molecular stability through serial passaging in mice. We aimed to establish PDX models from human HCC biopsies and to characterize their histologic and molecular stability during serial passaging. A total of 54 human HCC needle biopsies that were derived from patients with various underlying liver diseases and tumor stages were transplanted subcutaneously into immunodeficient, nonobese, diabetic/severe combined immunodeficiency gamma-c mice; 11 successfully engrafted. All successfully transplanted HCCs were Edmondson grade III or IV. HCC PDX tumors retained the histopathologic, transcriptomic, and genomic characteristics of the original HCC biopsies over 6 generations of retransplantation. These characteristics included Edmondson grade, expression of tumor markers, tumor gene signature, tumor-associated mutations, and copy number alterations. Conclusion: PDX mouse models can be established from undifferentiated HCCs, with an overall success rate of approximately 20%. The transplanted tumors represent the entire spectrum of the molecular landscape of HCCs and preserve the characteristics of the originating tumors through serial passaging. HCC PDX models are a promising tool for preclinical personalized drug development.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR)

UniBE Contributor:

Ng, Kiu Yan Charlotte


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Marla Rittiner

Date Deposited:

23 Dec 2019 13:27

Last Modified:

23 Dec 2019 13:27

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:






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