Human Villous Adenomas Engrafted into scid Mice Survive for Prolonged Period without Malignant Transformation

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Human villous adenomas are thought to represent premalignancies that subsequently give rise to colorectal adenocarcinomas.Currently there is no in vivo model in which to study the dedifferentiation and malignant transformation of these tumors. We establish here that human villous adenomas can be successfully engrafted into severe combined immunodeficient (scid) mice. Furthermore, these xenografts remain viable for up to 18 mo after either a subcutaneous or intraperitoneal inoculation of the human tissue. Tumors grew slowly and secreted a clear mucinous fluid. Examination of the tumors histologically at 1, 4, and 12 mo after implantation revealed that the villous polypoid structure was maintained and islands of atypical cells were observed within pockets of mucin surrounding the adenomatous tissue. No gross or histologic evidence of malignancy was detected throughout the 20-mo observation period. The human identity of the cells in the graft was confirmed by DNA in situ hybridization with a human-specific probe. We conclude that the human-scid xenograft described here represents a viable animal model with which to study the potential malignant dedifferentiation of villous adenomas over a prolonged period of time and to evaluate the possible contribution of selected oncogenic vectors on the malignant transformation of these adenomas. (J. Clin. Invest. 1994. 94:2153-2157.) Key words: colon tumor. polyp. polyposis coli. tumorigenesis. carcinogenesis

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