Taking cancer cells out of circulation and grafting them into mice allows to recreate properties, sensitivity to treatment and prognosis of small cell lung cancer

Article proposing use  of mouse models for recreation of patient’s  primary tumor properties and response to treatment  had been published in Nature Medicine in June.

Despite intensive study, small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) remains a dire diagnosis with few treatment options and limited prognosis. However, the science and treatment of SCLC has taken a big step forward with a clever application of circulating tumor cells (CTCs). Hodgkinson et al. demonstrate that CTCs isolated from the peripheral blood of patients with small-cell lung cancer can become a model of characteristics of a patient’s primary tumor when grafted into a mouse model, including its response or resistance to standard chemotherapy.

Researches isolated cancer cells of certain phenotype from blood of 6 patients and implanted those cells into mice.

The xenografts had histological features of small cell lung cancer  and patient-specific patterns of chromosomal gain and loss.  In one case xenograft began to metastasize to other organs of mice.  It’s important that these tumors mirrored the donor patient’s clinical prognosis and sensitivity to standart treatment.  The main problem of this research was that the  time necessary to grow palpable tumor mouse is actually the same as donor patient’s average life span.