Preclinical research on neuroendocrine tumors usually involves immortalized cell lines and few animal models. In the present study we described an in vivo model based on patient-derived xenografts of neuroendocrine tumor cells in zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos, allowing a rapid analysis of the angiogenic and invasive potential. Patient-derived neuroendocrine tumor cells were transplanted in 48 hours post-fertilization Tg(fli1a:EGFP)y1 zebrafish embryos that express enhanced green fluorescent protein in the entire vasculature. Neuroendocrine tumor cells, stained with CM-Dil, were injected into the subperidermal (perivitelline) space, close to the developing subintestinal venous plexus. A proper control group, represented by zebrafish injected with only D-PBS, was included in this study. Angiogenic and invasive potentials of each patient-derived xenograft were evaluated by both epifluorescence and confocal microscopes. Six out of eight neuroendocrine tumor samples were successfully transplanted in zebrafish embryos. Although the implanted tumor mass had a limited size (about 100 cells for embryos), patient-derived xenografts showed pro-angiogenic (5 cases) and invasive (6 cases) behaviors within 48 hours post injection. Patient-derived xenograft in zebrafish embryos appears to be a reliable in vivo preclinical model for neuroendocrine tumors, tumors with often limited cell availability. The rapidity of this procedure makes our model a promising platform to perform preclinical drug screening and opens a new scenario for personalized treatment in patients with neuroendocrine tumors.
- Neuroendocrine tumors
- Patient-derived xenografts
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism