Development and characterization of xenograft model systems for adenoid cystic carcinoma

Lab Invest. 2011 Oct;91(10):1480-90. doi: 10.1038/labinvest.2011.105. Epub 2011 Jun 27.


Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is one of the most common malignancies to arise in human salivary glands, and it also arises in the glandular tissue of other organ systems. To address the paucity of experimental model systems for this tumor type, we have undertaken a program of transplanting tissue samples of human ACC into immunodeficient nu/nu mice to create xenograft model systems. In 17 of 23 attempts (74%), xenograft tumors were successfully grown. In all cases, the histologic appearance of the donating tumor was recapitulated in the subsequent xenograft. Characterization of a subset of xenograft models by immunohistochemical biomarkers and by RNA transcript microarray analysis showed good fidelity in the recapitulation of gene expression patterns in the xenograft tumors compared with the human donor tumors. As ACC is known to frequently contain a t(6;9) translocation that fuses the MYB and NFIB genes, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) of 12 ACC xenograft models was performed that assayed MYB locus break-apart and MYB-NFIB locus fusion. Of 12 xenograft models, 11 (92%) revealed MYB locus rearrangement and 10 (83%) showed evidence of fusion of the MYB and NFIB loci. The two related xenograft models (derived from primary and metastatic tumors, respectively, of the same human subject) were karyotyped, showing a t(1;6) translocation, suggesting MYB translocation to a novel fusion partner gene. Overall, our results indicate that ACC is amenable to xenografting and that ACC xenograft models recapitulate the molecular and morphologic characteristics of human tumors, suggesting utility as valid experimental and preclinical model systems for this disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / secondary
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Fusion
  • Genes, myb
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Karyotyping
  • Mice*
  • Mice, Nude
  • Microarray Analysis
  • NFI Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • RNA / metabolism
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / genetics
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Translocation, Genetic
  • Transplantation, Heterologous*


  • Biomarkers
  • NFI Transcription Factors
  • NFIB protein, human
  • RNA