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Front Oncol. 2015 Jul 24;5:172. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2015.00172. eCollection 2015.

Pre-Clinical Models of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Duke University Medical Center , Durham, NC , USA.
2
Department of Pathology, Duke University Medical Center , Durham, NC , USA.
3
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Duke University Medical Center , Durham, NC , USA ; Department of Pathology, Duke University Medical Center , Durham, NC , USA.

Abstract

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a rare and incurable brain tumor that arises in the brainstem of children predominantly between the ages of 6 and 8. Its intricate morphology and involvement of normal pons tissue precludes surgical resection, and the standard of care today remains fractionated radiation alone. In the past 30 years, there have been no significant advances made in the treatment of DIPG. This is largely because we lack good models of DIPG and therefore have little biological basis for treatment. In recent years, however, due to increased biopsy and acquisition of autopsy specimens, research is beginning to unravel the genetic and epigenetic drivers of DIPG. Insight gleaned from these studies has led to improvements in approaches to both model these tumors in the lab and to potentially treat them in the clinic. This review will detail the initial strides toward modeling DIPG in animals, which included allograft and xenograft rodent models using non-DIPG glioma cells. Important advances in the field came with the development of in vitro cell and in vivo xenograft models derived directly from autopsy material of DIPG patients or from human embryonic stem cells. Finally, we will summarize the progress made in the development of genetically engineered mouse models of DIPG. Cooperation of studies incorporating all of these modeling systems to both investigate the unique mechanisms of gliomagenesis in the brainstem and to test potential novel therapeutic agents in a preclinical setting will result in improvement in treatments for DIPG patients.

KEYWORDS:

DIPG; brainstem glioma; pre-clinical animal models

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