Two major factors have contributed to a widely held disenchantment with murine tumor models for drug screening in cancer research: (a) the higher costs of these models in comparison to studies performed with tumor cells in vitro; and (b) the perception that these models have failed to demonstrate satisfactory correlation of chemosensitivity with analogous human tumor types; i.e., murine tumors generally have proved to be sensitive to many more agents than are found to be active in the clinic. The perceived failure of the murine models is discussed with particular reference to the difference in criteria used for evaluating drug sensitivity in murine tumor models versus clinical trials, and we conclude that the perception about murine models is not tenable in light of present information. The very important role of murine tumor models in optimizing dosage and administration schedules and, most importantly, in the development of a new drug to its most useful potential in combination chemotherapy is discussed. The value of this in vivo methodology is stressed.


Presented at the “Workshop on Disease-oriented Antitumor Drug Discovery and Development,” National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, January 9-10, 1985.

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