Animal models for ocular melanoma

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Animal models play an important role in understanding tumor growth and studying novel therapies in human cancer research. The significance of results from animal experiments relies on the selection of the proper animal model. Many attempts have been made to create appropriate models for uveal melanoma and its characteristic metastatic route. Ocular models have used Greene melanoma, murine B16 melanoma and human uveal melanoma cells, among others, in hamsters, rats, rabbits and mice. Various effective inoculation techniques, including subcutaneous, anterior chamber and posterior compartment injections have been developed to obtain tumor growth and mimic the pathological process of uveal melanoma. Metastatic models by subcutaneous, intraperitoneal, intravenous, intrahepatic, intrasplenic and intracardiac injection of tumor cells are able to induce tumor spread and simulate the human metastatic behavior to some extent. However, when we choose animal models, we must be conscious that the disadvantages, such as more aggressive tumor growth, the need for immune suppression in xenogeneic grafts and unreliable spreading sites should be taken into account.

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