Experimental models for cancer brain metastasis

Cancer Pathog Ther. 2023 Oct 29;2(1):15-23. doi: 10.1016/j.cpt.2023.10.005. eCollection 2024 Jan.


Brain metastases are a leading cause of cancer-related mortality. However, progress in their treatment has been limited over the past decade, due to an incomplete understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms. Employing accurate in vitro and in vivo models to recapitulate the complexities of brain metastasis offers the most promising approach to unravel the intricate cellular and physiological processes involved. Here, we present a comprehensive review of the currently accessible models for studying brain metastasis. We introduce a diverse array of in vitro and in vivo models, including cultured cells using the Transwell system, organoids, microfluidic models, syngeneic models, xenograft models, and genetically engineered models. We have also provided a concise summary of the merits and limitations inherent to each model while identifying the optimal contexts for their effective utilization. This review serves as a comprehensive resource, aiding researchers in making well-informed decisions regarding model selection that align with specific research questions.

Keywords: Animal model; Blood–brain barrier; Brain metastases; In vitro model.

Publication types

  • Review