This study characterizes a murine model which is promising for the study of the growth and natural history of ovarian cancer and for testing of new therapies for its treatment. Intact portions of 20 different human ovarian cancer surgical specimens were implanted in over 60 severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice using techniques previously developed in our laboratory. Growth of xenografts was evaluated by gross examination and histopathologic analysis. Confirmation of the human origin of the tumor outgrowth was obtained using in situ hybridization analysis. By histological evaluation, all of the patients' tumors showed evidence of invasive growth in at least 1 of the mice implanted with portions of each surgical specimen and these tumors remained morphologically similar to the parent tumors for a long period of time. Furthermore, 65% (13/20) of the xenografts grew rapidly enough (i.e., reached a diameter of 1-2 cm within 2-6 months) to allow passage to subsequent SCID mice. Among the passaged xenografts, 3 eventually developed metastases in a distribution pattern similar to that of naturally occurring ovarian cancer and 2 developed ascites without evidence of further metastatic spread. Upon evaluation of sera from tumor-bearing mice, human antibodies presumably derived from immunoglobulin-secreting cells present in the original tumor specimen were identified. In support of this, human B cells and plasma cells could be seen within the tumor xenograft for more than 6 months following implantation. In summary, transplantation of surgical specimens from ovarian cancer patients into SCID mice results in an attractive model for the study of the natural history of ovarian cancer and may also be useful for analysis or new experimental therapeutic approaches for the treatment of this disease.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.