The ability to engraft human leukemia cells directly from patient samples into immunodeficient rodents such as NOD/SCID mice would be uniquely valuable in preclinical prioritization of novel therapies for future clinical trial. The aim of this study was to develop an animal model for human acute leukemia in which the kinetics, characteristics and chemosensitivity of leukemia can be sequentially monitored in individual immunodeficient mouse model. Continuous xenografts from 28 acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients and 18 acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients with AML-ETO, CBFβ/MYH11, TAL/SIL1, MLL/AF4 fusion genes were established in NOD/SCID mice by intrasplenic inoculation of human leukemic cells from born marrow. Progression of leukemia was monitored throughout the development of disease by determination of immunophenotyping and karyotyping of the engraftment tumor cells. Chemosensitivity and in vivo efficacy to standard of care therapies were screened in xenografts from both AML and ALL patients. Genetic lesions and special surface markers in different passages of cells in recipient mice were also examined by gene array and FACS analysis. Intrasplenic inoculation of leukemia cells significantly enhanced the engraftment rate and expedited disease development when compared with I.V. route. Relative to engrafted human primary cells, negligible changes in growth rates, chromosomal aberrations and immunophenotype were observed at second, third and fourth passages. The in vivo sensitivity of xenografts to standard of care correlated significantly with clinical course and patient outcome. We have also uncovered key molecular events and serum immunoassay biomarkers which correlate with the efficacy and potency of the drugs for AML and ALL models. The biologic and genetic characteristics and patterns of chemosensitivity of xenografts from acute leukemia patients accurately reflect the clinical disease. The efficient engraftment and rapid expansion of the leukemia within NOD/SCID mice affords a robust model for the preclinical evaluation of new therapies.

Citation Format: {Authors}. {Abstract title} [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2010 Apr 17-21; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2010;70(8 Suppl):Abstract nr 395.