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Advances in preclinical therapeutics development using small animal imaging and molecular analyses: the gastrointestinal stromal tumors model

Clin Exp Med. 2009 Sep;9(3):199-205.


Pantaleo MA, Landuzzi L, Nicoletti G, Nanni C, Boschi S, Piazzi G, Santini D, Di Battista M, Castellucci P, Lodi F, Fanti S, Lollini PL, Biasco G.


The large use of target therapies in the treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) highlighted the urgency to integrate new molecular imaging technologies, to develop new criteria for tumor response evaluation and to reach a more comprehensive definition of the molecular target.

These aspects, which come from clinical experiences, are not considered enough in preclinical research studies which aim to evaluate the efficacy of new drugs or new combination of drugs with molecular target. We developed a xenograft animal model GIST882 using nude mice.

We evaluated both the molecular and functional characterization of the tumor mass. The mutational analysis of KIT receptor of the GIST882 cell lines and tumor mass showed a mutation on exon 13 that was still present after in vivo cell growth.
The glucose metabolism and cell proliferation was evaluated with a small animal PET using both FDG and FLT.

The experimental development of new therapies for GIST treatment requires sophisticated animal models in order to represent the tumor molecular heterogeneity already demonstrated in the clinical setting and in order to evaluate the efficacy of the treatment also considering the inhibition of tumor metabolism, and not only considering the change in size of tumors.

This approach of cancer research on GISTs is crucial and essential for innovative perspectives that could cross over to other types of cancer.

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