Worldwide, colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most frequent cancer in men and the second most frequent in women. In Europe, CRC has the highest cancer mortality rates for both sexes and, by 2020, it is estimated that there will be almost 50,000 new cases of CRC.1 Novel therapeutic approaches to CRC are urgently needed; surgical resection of tumours remains the best strategy to improve survival of patients, but more than half of them will go on to develop metastasis. In addition, currently available adjuvant chemotherapy for more advanced stages of CRC only benefit a small percentage of patients, mostly due to drug resistance and/or poor efficacy, and severe side effects.
The high incidence and mortality of CRC, together with the need for improved or new therapeutic options, have fuelled an increase in translational research worldwide. Indeed, significant advances have been made in the development of appropriate experimental models for CRC research, from in vitro to in vivo transplant models, as well as carcinogen-induced and genetically engineered animal models. Of note, the subject of the UEG Basic Science Course 2016 was “Hot topics in experimental GI cancer,” highlighting the current relevance of GI cancer research—with a heavy focus on hands-on training, there is no better way to learn about ground-breaking methodological approaches and techniques!
Of course, it is envisaged that no single model should be employed when studying the pathogenesis and potential chemotherapeutic and biological treatments of CRC (or any disease for that matter). Having said that, one particular model is currently seen as a hot topic, owing to its ability to model many of the genetic alterations associated with CRC carcinogenesis (ease of genetic manipulation) and its capacity to act as a model system for both basic and translational research, including high-throughput testing of individual responses to both existing and potential new drugs—so-called personalized medicine.
CAN YOU PINPOINT WHICH MODEL THIS IS?
a) ApcMin/+ mouse model
b) Organoid culture system model
c) Patient derived xenograft (PDX) model
d) Syngraft/isograft model