Immunodeficient mouse strains display marked variability in growth of human melanoma lung metastases

Beatriz M. Carreno, Joel R. Garbow, Grant R. Kolar, Erin N. Jackson, John A. Engelbach, Michelle Becker-Hapak, Leonidas N. Carayannopoulos, David Piwnica-Worms, Gerald P. Linette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Purpose: Immunodeficient mice serve as critical hosts for transplantation of xenogeneic cells for in vivo analysis of various biological processes. Because investigators typically select one or two immunodeficient mouse strains as recipients, no comprehensive study has been published documenting differences in human tumor engraftment. Taking advantage of the increased metastatic potential of RhoC-expressing human (A375) melanoma cells, we evaluate four immunodeficient mouse strains: severe combined immunodeficiency (scid), nonobese diabetic (NOD)-scid, NOD-scid β2mnull, and NOD-scid IL2Rγ;null as xenograft tumor recipients. Experimental Design: Bioluminescence, magnetic resonance imaging, and histopathology were used to monitor serial tumor growth. Natural killer (NK) cell function was examined in each mouse strain using standard 51Chromium release assays. Results: Melanoma metastases growth is delayed and variable in scid and NOD-scid mice. In contrast, NOD-scid β2mnull and NOD-scid IL2Rγ null mice show rapid tumor engraftment, although tumor growth is variable in NOD-scid β2mnull mice. NK cells were detected in all strains except NOD-scid IL2Rγnull, and in vitro activated scid, NOD-scid, and NOD-scid β2mnull NK cells kill human melanoma lines and primary melanoma cells. Expression of human NKG2D ligands MHC class I chain-related Aand B molecules renders melanoma susceptible to murine NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity and killing is inhibited by antibody blockade of murine NKG2D. Conclusions: Murine NKG2D recognition of MICA/B is an important receptor-ligand interaction used by NK cells in immunodeficient strains to limit engraftment of human tumors. The absolute NK deficiency in NOD-scid IL2Rγnull animals makes this strain an excellent recipient of melanoma and potentially other human malignancies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3277-3286
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2009


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