Mouse models of intestinal cancer

J Pathol. 2016 Jan;238(2):141-51. doi: 10.1002/path.4645. Epub 2015 Oct 29.


Murine models of intestinal cancer are powerful tools to recapitulate human intestinal cancer, understand its biology and test therapies. With recent developments identifying the importance of the tumour microenvironment and the potential for immunotherapy, autochthonous genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) will remain an important part of preclinical studies for the foreseeable future. This review will provide an overview of the current mouse models of intestinal cancer, from the Apc(Min/+) mouse, which has been used for over 25 years, to the latest 'state-of-the-art' organoid models. We discuss here how these models have been used to define fundamental processes involved in tumour initiation and the attempts to generate metastatic models, which is the ultimate cause of cancer mortality. Together these models will provide key insights to understand this complex disease and hopefully will lead to the discovery of new therapeutic strategies.

Keywords: GEMM; adenomatous polyposis coli; colorectal cancer; crc; invasion; metastasis; organoids; transplantation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli / genetics
  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Protein / deficiency
  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Protein / genetics
  • Animals
  • Carcinogenesis / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Forecasting
  • Genes, APC*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Transplantation / methods


  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Protein