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Zebrafish. 2009 Dec;6(4):339-46. doi: 10.1089/zeb.2009.0607.

Zebrafish tumor assays: the state of transplantation.

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Stem Cell Program and Division of Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Tumor transplant studies are important tools for studying cancer biology in a model organism. Transplantation is especially important for assaying tumor cell malignancy and migration capabilities, and is critical for identifying putative cancer stem cell populations. In this review, we discuss the current state of tumor transplantation studies performed in the zebrafish. We address several zebrafish-specific considerations for development of the transplant assay, including choosing recipient animals, transplant methods, and post-transplant observation. We also examine how the zebrafish is an advantageous model for transplantation, particularly with development of the translucent fish. Transplantation has already been critical for characterizing zebrafish models of leukemia, rhabdomyosarcoma, and melanoma. With further development of imaging techniques and other tools, zebrafish tumor transplantation will continue to contribute to our understanding of tumor cell biology.

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