In vivo models of primary brain tumors: pitfalls and perspectives

Neuro Oncol. 2012 Aug;14(8):979-93. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/nos135. Epub 2012 Jun 7.


Animal modeling for primary brain tumors has undergone constant development over the last 60 years, and significant improvements have been made recently with the establishment of highly invasive glioblastoma models. In this review we discuss the advantages and pitfalls of model development, focusing on chemically induced models, various xenogeneic grafts of human cell lines, including stem cell-like cell lines and biopsy spheroids. We then discuss the development of numerous genetically engineered models available to study mechanisms of tumor initiation and progression. At present it is clear that none of the current animal models fully reflects human gliomas. Yet, the various model systems have provided important insight into specific mechanisms of tumor development. In particular, it is anticipated that a combined comprehensive knowledge of the various models currently available will provide important new knowledge on target identification and the validation and development of new therapeutic strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Glioblastoma*
  • Humans