Surgical Procedures and Methodology for a Preclinical Murine Model of De Novo Mammary Cancer Metastasis

Charles E. Gast, Aubie K. Shaw, Melissa H. Wong, Lisa M. Coussens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


A rate-limiting aspect of transgenic mouse models of mammary adenocarcinoma is that primary tumor burden in mammary tissue typically defines study end-points. Thus, studies focused on elucidating mechanisms of late-stage de novo metastasis are compromised, as are studies examining efficacy of anti-cancer therapies targeting mediators of metastasis in the adjuvant setting. Numerous murine mammary cancer models have been developed via targeted expression of dominant oncoproteins to mammary epithelial cells yielding models variably mimicking histopathologic and transcriptome-defined breast cancer subtypes common in women1. While much has been learned regarding the biology of mammary carcinogenesis with these models, their utility in identifying molecules regulating growth of late-stage metastasis are compromised as mice are typically euthanized at earlier time points due to significant primary tumor burden. Moreover, since a significant percentage of women diagnosed with breast cancer receive adjuvant therapy after surgical resection of primary tumors and prior to presence of detectable metastatic disease, preclinical models of de novo metastasis are urgently needed as platforms to evaluate new therapies aimed at targeting metastatic foci. To address these deficiencies, we developed a murine model of de novo mammary cancer metastasis, wherein primary mammary tumors are surgically resected, and metastatic foci subsequently develop over a 115 day post-surgical period. This long latency provides a tractable model to identify functionally significant regulators of metastatic progression in mice lacking primary tumor, as well as a model to evaluate preclinical therapeutic efficacy of agents aimed at blocking functionally significant molecules aiding metastatic tumor survival and growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number125
StatePublished - Jul 29 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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