The immunological impact on antibody-based anticancer therapies remains incompletely understood due to the lack of appropriate animal models for in vivo analysis. Here, we present a novel humanized tumor mouse (HTM) model, generated by concurrent transplantation of human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and human breast cancer cells in neonatal NOD-scid IL2Rγ(null) mice. Five weeks after intrahepatic transplantation, a functional human immune system was developed in all organs, and, in addition, tumor cells were detectable in lung and bone marrow (early dissemination). After 3 months posttransplant, tumor-cell effusions and macroscopic tumors associated with liver or spleen were found. Furthermore, disseminated cells in different lymphoid and nonlymphoid organs were measurable. Tumor growth was accompanied by specific T-cell maturation and tumor cell-specific T-cell activation. In addition, Natural-Killer cell accumulation and activation were observed in HTM, which was further enhanced upon IL-15 treatment facilitating the possibility of immune cell modulation in, e.g., antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity-based immunotherapeutic approaches. This novel mouse model makes it possible to combine transfer of MHC mismatched tumor cells together with human HSCs resulting in a solid coexistence and interaction without evidence for rejection. Overall, humanized tumor mice represent a powerful in vivo model that for the first time permits the investigation of human immune system-related target cancer therapy and resistance.
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