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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Jan;1835(1):110-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbcan.2012.11.001. Epub 2012 Nov 9.

Study human pancreatic cancer in mice: how close are they?

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Department of Cancer Biology, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA.


Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths and is characterized by dismal prognosis. Xenograft and genetically engineered mouse (GEM) models have recapitulated critical elements of human pancreatic cancer, providing useful tools to probe the underlying cause of cancer etiology. In this review, we provide a brief description of the common genetic lesions that occur during the development of pancreatic cancer. Next, we describe the strengths and weaknesses of these two models and highlight key discoveries each has made. Although the relative merits of GEM and xenograft pancreatic cancer mouse models are subject to debate, both systems have and will continue to yield essential insights in understanding pancreatic cancer etiology. This information is critical for the development of new methods to screen, treat, and prevent pancreatic cancer.

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