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Blood Adv. 2017 Jul 7;1(16):1263-1273. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2017005892. eCollection 2017 Jul 11.

Patient-derived xenografts of low-grade B-cell lymphomas demonstrate roles of the tumor microenvironment.

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Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.
Microbiology and Immunology, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY.
The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME; and.
Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ.


To discern features of non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL) that are autonomous from those that are shaped by the tumor environment (TE), we used patient-derived xenografts (PDX) to probe the effects on neoplastic cells of manipulating the TE. Properties of neoplastic cells that are often considered to be autonomous include their relative independence from stromal support, their relative survival and/or proliferation advantages compared with nonneoplastic cells, and their state of differentiation. Prior approaches to creation of PDX models likely select for neoplasms, which are the most capable of engraftment, potentially masking the effects of the TE. To overcome this bias, we developed a robust protocol that rapidly produced xenografts with more than 85% of unselected, cryo-preserved, B-cell NHL specimens, including low-grade tumors such as follicular and marginal zone lymphoma. To discern features that are shaped by the TE, we extensively studied 4 low-grade lymphoma specimens. B-cell engraftment required components of the native TE; specifically, CD4+ cells. The relative survival of neoplastic compared with nonneoplastic B cells was not autonomous in 2 specimens; specifically, neoplastic B cells from 2 specimens showed a greater dependence on the TE than normal B cells for engraftment. Furthermore, the differentiation of neoplastic B cells was dependent on the TE; mature B-cell neoplasms converted to plasmacytoma-like lesions in the grafts. These results highlight the central and patient-specific roles of the TE in maintaining the relative survival of neoplastic cells compared with normal cells and in controlling the differentiation of neoplastic cells.

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