Characterization of a large panel of patient-derived tumor xenografts representing the clinical heterogeneity of human colorectal cancer

Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Oct 1;18(19):5314-28. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-0372. Epub 2012 Jul 23.


Purpose: Patient-derived xenograft models are considered to represent the heterogeneity of human cancers and advanced preclinical models. Our consortium joins efforts to extensively develop and characterize a new collection of patient-derived colorectal cancer (CRC) models.

Experimental design: From the 85 unsupervised surgical colorectal samples collection, 54 tumors were successfully xenografted in immunodeficient mice and rats, representing 35 primary tumors, 5 peritoneal carcinoses and 14 metastases. Histologic and molecular characterization of patient tumors, first and late passages on mice includes the sequence of key genes involved in CRC (i.e., APC, KRAS, TP53), aCGH, and transcriptomic analysis.

Results: This comprehensive characterization shows that our collection recapitulates the clinical situation about the histopathology and molecular diversity of CRC. Moreover, patient tumors and corresponding models are clustering together allowing comparison studies between clinical and preclinical data. Hence, we conducted pharmacologic monotherapy studies with standard of care for CRC (5-fluorouracil, oxaliplatin, irinotecan, and cetuximab). Through this extensive in vivo analysis, we have shown the loss of human stroma cells after engraftment, observed a metastatic phenotype in some models, and finally compared the molecular profile with the drug sensitivity of each tumor model. Through an experimental cetuximab phase II trial, we confirmed the key role of KRAS mutation in cetuximab resistance.

Conclusions: This new collection could bring benefit to evaluate novel targeted therapeutic strategies and to better understand the basis for sensitivity or resistance of tumors from individual patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Camptothecin / administration & dosage
  • Camptothecin / analogs & derivatives
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / drug effects*
  • Cetuximab
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Irinotecan
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Microsatellite Instability
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Rats
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Organoplatinum Compounds
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Irinotecan
  • Cetuximab
  • Fluorouracil
  • Camptothecin