The next generation of orthotopic thyroid cancer models: Immunocompetent orthotopic mouse models of BRAFV600E-positive papillary and anaplastic thyroid carcinoma

Pierre Vanden Borre, David G. Mcfadden, Viswanath Gunda, Peter M. Sadow, Shohreh Varmeh, Maria Bernasconi, Tyler Jacks, Sareh Parangi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: While the development of new treatments for aggressive thyroid cancer has advanced in the last 10 years, progress has trailed headways made with other malignancies. A lack of reliable authenticated human cell lines and reproducible animal models is one major roadblock to preclinical testing of novel therapeutics. Existing xenograft and orthotopic mouse models of aggressive thyroid cancer rely on the implantation of highly passaged human thyroid carcinoma lines in immunodeficient mice. Genetically engineered models of papillary and undifferentiated (anaplastic) thyroid carcinoma (PTC and ATC) are immunocompetent; however, slow and stochastic tumor development hinders high-throughput testing. Novel models of PTC and ATC in which tumors arise rapidly and synchronously in immunocompetent mice would facilitate the investigation of novel therapeutics and approaches. Methods: We characterized and utilized mouse cell lines derived from PTC and ATC tumors arising in genetically engineered mice with thyroid-specific expression of endogenous BrafV600E/WT and deletion of either Trp53 (p53) or Pten. These murine thyroid cancer cells were transduced with luciferase- and GFP-expressing lentivirus and implanted into the thyroid glands of immunocompetent syngeneic B6129SF1/J mice in which the growth characteristics were assessed. Results: Large locally aggressive thyroid tumors form within one week of implantation. Tumors recapitulate their histologic subtype, including well-differentiated PTC and ATC, and exhibit CD3+, CD8+, B220+, and CD163+ immune cell infiltration. Tumor progression can be followed in vivo using luciferase and ex vivo using GFP. Metastatic spread is not detected at early time points. Conclusions: We describe the development of the next generation of murine orthotopic thyroid cancer models. The implantation of genetically defined murine BRAF-mutated PTC and ATC cell lines into syngeneic mice results in rapid and synchronous tumor formation. This model allows for preclinical investigation of novel therapeutics and/or therapeutic combinations in the context of a functional immune system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-714
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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