Catch of the day: zebrafish as a human cancer model

Oncogene. 2008 Jul 31;27(33):4509-20. doi: 10.1038/onc.2008.95. Epub 2008 Mar 31.


Zebrafish are making big waves in the field of cancer research. The effect has been widespread and continues to gain speed as more and more cancer researchers ride the wave of zebrafish biology. This has been largely due to the development of transgenic and xenograft models of cancer, which recapitulate many aspects of different human cancers including lymphoblastic T-cell leukemia, pancreatic cancer, melanoma and rhabdomyosarcoma. These models are already being utilized by academia and industry to search for genetic and chemical modifiers of cancer with success. The attention has been further stimulated by the amenability of zebrafish to pharmacological testing and the superior imaging properties of fish tissues that allow visualization of cancer progression and angiogenesis in live animals. This review summarizes the current zebrafish models of cancer and discusses their utility in human cancer research and future directions in the field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / genetics*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / physiopathology
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays / methods
  • Zebrafish