The Zebrafish Xenograft Models for Investigating Cancer and Cancer Therapeutics

Biology (Basel). 2021 Mar 24;10(4):252. doi: 10.3390/biology10040252.


In order to develop new cancer therapeutics, rapid, reliable, and relevant biological models are required to screen and validate drug candidates for both efficacy and safety. In recent years, the zebrafish (Danio rerio) has emerged as an excellent model organism suited for these goals. Larval fish or immunocompromised adult fish are used to engraft human cancer cells and serve as a platform for screening potential drug candidates. With zebrafish sharing ~80% of disease-related orthologous genes with humans, they provide a low cost, high-throughput alternative to mouse xenografts that is relevant to human biology. In this review, we provide background on the methods and utility of zebrafish xenograft models in cancer research.

Keywords: cancer therapeutics; drug discovery; drug screening; toxicity testing; xenograft; zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Review