Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare and aggressive tumor arising in the mesothelium that covers the lungs, the heart, and the thoracic cavity. MPM development is mainly associated with asbestos. Treatments provide only modest survival since the median survival average is 9–18 months from the time of diagnosis. Therefore, more effective treatments must be identified. Most data describing new therapeutic targets were obtained from in vitro experiments and need to be validated in reliable in vivo preclinical models. This article describes one such reliable MPM orthotopic model obtained after injection of a human MPM cell line H2052/484 into the pleural cavity of immunodeficient athymic mice. Transplantation in the orthotopic site allows studying the progression of tumor in the natural in vivo environment. Positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) molecular imaging using the clinical [18F]-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose ([18F]FDG) radiotracer is the diagnosis method of choice for examining patients with MPM. Accordingly, [18F]FDG-PET/CT was used to longitudinally monitor the disease progression of the H2052/484 orthotopic model. This technique has a high 3R potential (Reduce the number of animals, Refine to lessen pain and discomfort, and Replace animal experimentation with alternatives) since the tumor development can be monitored non-invasively and the number of animals required could be significantly reduced.
This model displays a high development rate, a rapid tumor growth, is cost-efficient and allows for rapid clinical translation. By using this orthotopic xenograft MPM model, researchers can assess biological responses of a reliable MPM model following therapeutic interventions.