Commentary Models of breast cancer: quo vadis, animal modeling?


Rodent models for breast cancer have for many decades provided unparalleled insights into cellular and molecular aspects of neoplastic transformation and tumorigenesis. Despite recent improvements in the fidelity of genetically engineered mice, rodent models are still being criticized by many colleagues for not being ‘authentic ’ enough to the human disease. Motives for this criticism are manifold and range from a very general antipathy against the rodent model system to well-founded arguments that highlight physiological variations between species. Newly proposed differences in genetic pathways that cause cancer in humans and mice invigorated the ongoing discussion about the legitimacy of the murine system to model the human disease. The present commentary intends to stimulate a debate on this subject by providing the background about new developments in animal modeling, by disputing suggested limitations of genetically engineered mice, and by discussing improvements but also ambiguous expectations on the authenticity of xenograft models to faithfully mimic the human disease

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