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J Vis Exp. 2016 Jul 29;(113). doi: 10.3791/54259.

Depletion of Mouse Cells from Human Tumor Xenografts Significantly Improves Downstream Analysis of Target Cells.

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R&D Reagents, Miltenyi Biotec GmbH;
R&D Reagents, Miltenyi Biotec GmbH.
In vivo Tumorbiology, Oncotest GmbH.


The use of in vitro cell line models for cancer research has been a useful tool. However, it has been shown that these models fail to reliably mimic patient tumors in different assays(1). Human tumor xenografts represent the gold standard with respect to tumor biology, drug discovery, and metastasis research (2-4). Tumor xenografts can be derived from different types of material like tumor cell lines, tumor tissue from primary patient tumors(4) or serially transplanted tumors. When propagated in vivo, xenografted tissue is infiltrated and vascularized by cells of mouse origin. Multiple factors such as the tumor entity, the origin of xenografted material, growth rate and region of transplantation influence the composition and the amount of mouse cells present in tumor xenografts. However, even when these factors are kept constant, the degree of mouse cell contamination is highly variable. Contaminating mouse cells significantly impair downstream analyses of human tumor xenografts. As mouse fibroblasts show high plating efficacies and proliferation rates, they tend to overgrow cultures of human tumor cells, especially slowly proliferating subpopulations. Mouse cell derived DNA, mRNA, and protein components can bias downstream gene expression analysis, next-generation sequencing, as well as proteome analysis (5). To overcome these limitations, we have developed a fast and easy method to isolate untouched human tumor cells from xenografted tumor tissue. This procedure is based on the comprehensive depletion of cells of mouse origin by combining automated tissue dissociation with the benchtop tissue dissociator and magnetic cell sorting. Here, we demonstrate that human target cells can be can be obtained with purities higher than 96% within less than 20 min independent of the tumor type.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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