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Using the Chicken Chorioallantoic Membrane In Vivo Model to Study Gynecological and Urological Cancers.

  • Author(s): Sharrow, Allison C;
  • Ishihara, Moe;
  • Hu, Junhui;
  • Kim, Il Hyun;
  • Wu, Lily
  • et al.

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Mouse models are the benchmark tests for in vivo cancer studies. However, cost, time, and ethical considerations have led to calls for alternative in vivo cancer models. The chicken chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) model provides an inexpensive, rapid alternative that permits direct visualization of tumor development and is suitable for in vivo imaging. As such, we sought to develop an optimized protocol for engrafting gynecological and urological tumors into this model, which we present here. Approximately 7 days postfertilization, the air cell is moved to the vascularized side of the egg, where an opening is created in the shell. Tumors from murine and human cell lines and primary tissues can then be engrafted. These are typically seeded in a mixture of extracellular matrix and medium to avoid cellular dispersal and provide nutrient support until the cells recruit a vascular supply. Tumors may then grow for up to an additional 14 days prior to the eggs hatching. By implanting cells stably transduced with firefly luciferase, bioluminescence imaging can be used for the sensitive detection of tumor growth on the membrane and cancer cell spread throughout the embryo. This model can potentially be used to study tumorigenicity, invasion, metastasis, and therapeutic effectiveness. The chicken CAM model requires significantly less time and financial resources compared to traditional murine models. Because the eggs are immunocompromised and immune tolerant, tissues from any organism can potentially be implanted without costly transgenic animals (e.g., mice) required for implantation of human tissues. However, many of the advantages of this model could potentially also be limitations, including the short tumor generation time and immunocompromised/immune tolerant status. Additionally, although all tumor types presented here engraft in the chicken chorioallantoic membrane model, they do so with varying degrees of tumor growth.

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