Generation of Tumor Organoids from Genetically Engineered Mouse Models of Prostate Cancer

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


Methods based on homologous recombination to modify genes have significantly furthered biological research. Genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) are a rigorous method for studying mammalian development and disease. Our laboratory has developed several GEMMs of prostate cancer (PCa) that lack expression of one or multiple tumor suppressor genes using the site-specific Cre-loxP recombinase system and a prostate-specific promoter. In this article, we describe our method for necropsy of these PCa GEMMs, primarily focusing on dissection of mouse prostate tumors. New methods developed over the last decade have facilitated the culture of epithelial-derived cells to model organ systems in vitro in three dimensions. We also detail a 3D cell culture method to generate tumor organoids from mouse PCa GEMMs. Pre-clinical cancer research has been dominated by 2D cell culture and cell line-derived or patient-derived xenograft models. These methods lack tumor microenvironment, a limitation of using these techniques in pre-clinical studies. GEMMs are more physiologically-relevant for understanding tumorigenesis and cancer progression. Tumor organoid culture is an in vitro model system that recapitulates tumor architecture and cell lineage characteristics. In addition, 3D cell culture methods allow for growth of normal cells for comparison to tumor cell cultures, rarely possible using 2D cell culture techniques. In combination, use of GEMMs and 3D cell culture in pre-clinical studies has the potential to improve our understanding of cancer biology.