The chicken chorioallantoic membrane tumor assay as model for qualitative testing of oncolytic adenoviruses

Cancer Gene Ther. 2012 Jan;19(1):58-68. doi: 10.1038/cgt.2011.68. Epub 2011 Oct 21.


Oncolytic adenoviruses are promising anticancer agents. To study and optimize their tumor-killing potency, genuine tumor models are required. Here we describe the use of the chicken chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) tumor model in studies on oncolytic adenoviral vectors. Suspensions of human melanoma, colorectal carcinoma and glioblastoma multiforme cell lines were grafted on the CAM of embryonated chicken eggs. All cell lines tested formed 5-10 mm size tumors, which recapitulated hallmarks of corresponding human specimens. Furthermore, melanoma tumors were injected with adenoviral vector-carrying gene encoding the fusion protein of parainfluenza virus type 5. This led to the induction of cell fusion and syncytia formation in the infected cells. At 6 days post-injection, histological and immunohistochemical analyses of tumor sections confirmed adenovirus replication and syncytia formation. These results demonstrate that the CAM model allows rapid assessment of oncolytic viruses in three-dimensional tumors. Hence, this model constitutes an easy and affordable system for preclinical characterization of viral oncolytic agents that may precede the mandatory process of animal testing. Application of this model will help reducing the use of human xenografts in mice for preclinical evaluation of oncolytic viruses and other anticancer agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chickens
  • Chorioallantoic Membrane / virology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / virology
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Glioblastoma / genetics
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Glioblastoma / therapy
  • Glioblastoma / virology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Melanoma / genetics
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / therapy
  • Melanoma / virology
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy / methods*
  • Oncolytic Viruses / genetics*