Brain Tumor Models for Cancer Therapy

Beverly A. Teicher

There are at least 18000 new cases of primary brain and CNS-malignant neoplasms diagnosed in the United States per year. The most common malignant CNS tumor is glioblastoma multiforme. The mean age of patients with glioblastoma multiforme is 52 years. These tumors cause approximately 12 000 deaths per year. Despite the relatively small numbers of CNS tumors, the morbidity and mortality they cause are significant [1,2]. Surgery remains the primary treatment for CNS tumors. After surgery, patients with glioblastoma multiforme or anaplastic astrocytoma are treated with radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is used as an adjuvant with surgery and radiation therapy. The most commonly used chemotherapeutic agents are the nitrosou-reas, including 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea (BCNU), 1-(2-chloroethyl)-3-cyclohexyl-1-nitrosourea (CCNU), and methyl-1-(2-chloroethyl)-3-cyclohexyl-1-nitrosourea (methyl-CCNU). The platinum complexes cisplatin and carboplatin are also used. Most recently, temozolomide has been approved in the United States for the treatment of astrocytoma and is in clinical trial for other CNS tumor indications [3-5].

The most frequently used preclinical in vivo models of brain tumors include the rat carcinogen-induced syngeneic models and human tumor xenografts. Both types of tumors are routinely implanted subcuta-neously or intracranially in host animals including conventional and nude rats or nude or SCID mice. These models have been used to explore the efficacy of diverse therapeutic strategies.

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