Background: Patient derived xenografts (PDX) are regarded as the gold-standard for translational preclinical cancer research due to their preservation of tumor heterogeneity and propagation in vivo. Similarly, grafting human tumor cells of a particular tissue origin into the corresponding orthotopic context enhances translational accuracy; with recapitulation of tumor::microenvironment biology, as well as more accurate tumor progression kinetics and metastasis, a s well as for systemic delivery of therapies as compared to traditional subcutaneous xenografts. Bioluminescent luciferase-reporters into traditional cancer cell lines has allowed for in-life imaging of tumor growth kinetics in real-time, within obfuscated internal organs, improving experimental precision. We have reported on the development and validation of bioluminescent pancreatic cancer and breast cancer PDX in clinically recapitulative orthotopic models. Here, we characterize these bioluminescent PDX by gene-expression profiling; comparing orthotopic and ectopically propagated bioluminescent PDX to their non-transduced parental PDX counterparts.

Methods: Pancreatic (PANx-005-Luc) or metastatic breast (HBCx-14-Luc) PDXs stably transduced with lentiviral luciferase were dissociated and implanted orthotopically into pancreas or mammary fat pad respectively or subcutaneously into the flank of NOD scid gamma (NSG) mice. Likewise, the parental reporter-free PANx-005 or HBCx-14 PDX were implanted subcutaneously into NSG mice. For luciferase-expressing PDX implanted orthotopically, tumor growth was monitored in-life (Xenogen IVIS® Lumina Series III instrument (IVIS)). For the PANx-005-Luc, orthotopic tumors were harvested at a mean tumor radiance (TR) of 2.53 × 106 + 1.63 × 106 ph/s, while ectopic luciferase-transduced and parental tumors were harvested at a mean tumor volume of 530 + 337mm3. For the HBCx-14-Luc, orthotopic tumors were harvested individually when TR reached 6.5 × 109 ph/s while ectopic luciferase-transduced or parental tumors were harvested when tumor volumes reached 1500 + 362.5mm3. Tumor samples were fixed in 10% neutral buffered formalin and embedded in paraffin-blocks for histological analysis. RNA was extracted from all tumors and full-coverage human genome gene-expression profiling was performed. Major differences observed in microarray data was validated via quantitative biochemical assays.

Results: Stable expression of lentiviral luciferase did not result in significant gene-expression changes to PDX lines, while site of implantation altered some gene-expression characteristics of the PDX.

Conclusions: The introduction of an integrating stable bioluminescent reporter does not significantly alter the gene-expression characteristics of PANx-005 or HBCx-14 PDX. Site of implantation plays a role in gene-expression of PDX tumor models.

Citation Format: Benjamin G. Cuiffo, Olivier Deas, Ingrid Rankin, Gregory D. Lyng, Stephano Cairo, Katie Pedrick, Alexandra Kury, Enora Le Ven, Jean-Gabriel Judde, Stephen T. Sonis. Gene-expression characterization of bioluminescent PDX in orthotopic and ectopic models of pancreatic cancer and metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2016 Apr 16-20; New Orleans, LA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2016;76(14 Suppl):Abstract nr 633.