Preclinical models of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Chin Clin Oncol. 2017 Jun;6(3):25. doi: 10.21037/cco.2017.06.15.


Unlike many other cancers, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has seen only incremental improvement in mortality despite significant advances in our understanding of the underlying biology. A primary obstacle to progress has been our inability to properly model PDAC in a preclinical setting. PDAC is difficult to study because of its genetic heterogeneity, intricate stromal microenvironment, and complex interplay with our immune system. Finding a model that properly accounts for all these criteria remains difficult. This review summarizes the five primary models currently in use: human PDAC cell line, cell line xenograft, patient derived xenograft, genetically engineered mouse model (GEMM), and organoids. We delve into the advantages of disadvantages of each model, while discussing how each model has been or could be used in the preclinical setting.

Keywords: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC); organoids; preclinical model.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma* / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma* / immunology
  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal* / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal* / immunology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Heterografts
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Organoids
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / immunology
  • Transplantation, Heterologous
  • Tumor Microenvironment