Background: Gastric cancer metastasis is a highly fatal disease with a five-year survival rate of less than 5%. One major obstacle in studying gastric cancer metastasis is the lack of faithful models available. The cancer xenograft mouse models are widely used to elucidate the mechanisms of cancer development and progression. Current procedures for creating cancer xenografts include both heterotopic (i.e., subcutaneous) and orthotopic transplantation methods. Compared to the heterotopic model, the orthotopic model has been shown to be the more clinically relevant design as it enables the development of cancer metastasis. Although there are several methods in use to develop the orthotopic gastric cancer model, there is not a model which uses various types of tumor materials, such as soft tissues, semi-liquid tissues, or culture derivatives, due to the technical challenges. Thus, developing the applicable orthotopic model which can utilize various tumor materials is essential. Results: To overcome the known limitations of the current orthotopic gastric cancer models, such as exposure of tumor fragments to the neighboring organs or only using firm tissues for the orthotopic implantation, we have developed a new method allowing for the complete insertion of soft tissue fragments or homogeneously minced tissues into the stomach submucosa layer of the immunodeficient NOD.Cg-Prkdcscid Il2rgtm1Wjl/SzJ (NSG) mouse. With this completely-closed transplantation method, tumors with various types of tissue may be used to establish orthotopic gastric cancer models without the risks of exposure to nearby organs or cell leakage. This surgical procedure was highly reproducible in generating forty-eight mouse models with a surgery success rate of 96% and tumor formation of 93%. Among four orthotopic patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models that we generated in this study, we verified that the occurrence of organotropic metastasis in either the liver or peritoneal cavity was the same as that of the donor patients. Conclusion: Here we describe a new protocol, step by step, for the establishment of orthotopic xenograft of gastric cancer. This novel technique will be able to increase the use of orthotopic models in broader applications for not only gastric cancer research but also any research related to the stomach microenvironment.
- Gastric cancer
- Orthotopic xenograft
- Patient-derived xenograft (PDX)
- Tumor mouse model