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Clin Cancer Res. 2010 Mar 1;16(5):1442-51. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-2878. Epub 2010 Feb 23.

Patient-derived first generation xenografts of non-small cell lung cancers: promising tools for predicting drug responses for personalized chemotherapy.

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Department of Cancer Endocrinology, BC Cancer Agency, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



Current chemotherapeutic regimens have only modest benefit for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Cumulative toxicities/drug resistance limit chemotherapy given after the first-line regimen. For personalized chemotherapy, clinically relevant NSCLC models are needed for quickly predicting the most effective regimens for therapy with curative intent. In this study, first generation subrenal capsule xenografts of primary NSCLCs were examined for (a) determining responses to conventional chemotherapeutic regimens and (b) selecting regimens most effective for individual patients.


Pieces (1x3x3 mm(3)) of 32 nontreated, completely resected patients' NSCLCs were grafted under renal capsules of nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient mice and treated with (A) cisplatin+vinorelbine, (B) cisplatin+docetaxel, (C) cisplatin+gemcitabine, and positive responses (treated tumor area <or=50% of control, P < 0.05) were determined. Clinical outcomes of treated patients were acquired.


Xenografts from all NSCLCs were established (engraftment rate, 90%) with the retention of major biological characteristics of the original cancers. The entire process of drug assessment took 8 weeks. Response rates to regimens A, B, and C were 28% (9 of 32), 42% (8 of 19), and 44% (7 of 16), respectively. Certain cancers that were resistant to a particular regimen were sensitive to others. The majority of responsive tumors contained foci of nonresponding cancer cells, indicative of tumor heterogeneity and potential drug resistance. Xenografts from six of seven patients who developed recurrence/metastasis were nonresponsive.


Models based on first generation NSCLC subrenal capsule xenografts have been developed, which are suitable for quick assessment (6-8 weeks) of the chemosensitivity of patients' cancers and selection of the most effective regimens. They hold promise for application in personalized chemotherapy of NSCLC patients.

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