Mouse models of anemia of cancer.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0093283
Anemia of cancer (AC) may contribute to cancer-related fatigue and impair quality of life. Improved understanding of the pathogenesis of AC could facilitate better treatment, but animal models to study AC are lacking. We characterized four syngeneic C57BL/6 mouse cancers that cause AC. Mice with two different rapidly-growing metastatic lung cancers developed the characteristic findings of anemia of inflammation (AI), with dramatically different degrees of anemia. Mice with rapidly-growing metastatic melanoma also developed a severe anemia by 14 days, with hematologic and inflammatory parameters similar to AI. Mice with a slow-growing peritoneal ovarian cancer developed an iron-deficiency anemia, likely secondary to chronically impaired nutrition and bleeding into the peritoneal cavity. Of the four models, hepcidin mRNA levels were increased only in the milder lung cancer model. Unlike in our model of systemic inflammation induced by heat-killed Brucella abortus, ablation of hepcidin in the ovarian cancer and the milder lung cancer mouse models did not affect the severity of anemia. Hepcidin-independent mechanisms play an important role in these murine models of AC.