Pancreatic cancer ascites xenograft-an expeditious model mirroring advanced therapeutic resistant disease

Talia Golan*, Chani Stossel, Michael Schvimer, Dikla Atias, Sharon Halperin, Ella Buzhor, Maria Raitses-Gurevich, Keren Cohen, Sara Pri-Chen, Julie Wilson, Robert E. Denroche, Ilinca Lungu, John M.S. Bartlett, Faridah Mbabaali, Yosef Yarden, Nishanth Belugali Nataraj, Steven Gallinger, Raanan Berger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma has limited treatment options. There is an urgent need for developing appropriate pre-clinical models recapitulating metastatic disease, the most common clinical scenario at presentation. Ascites accumulation occurs in up to 20-30% of patients with pancreatic cancer; this milieu represents a highly cellular research resource of metastatic peritoneal spread. In this study, we utilized pancreatic ascites/pleural effusion cancer cells to establish patient derived xenografts. Ascites/pleural effusion-patient derived xenografts were established from twelve independent cases. Xenografts were serially passed in nude mice and tissue bio-specimen banking has been established. Histopathology of emergent tumors demonstrates poorly to moderately differentiated, glandular and mucin producing tumors, mirroring morphology of primary pancreatic cancer tumors. Whole genome sequencing of six patient derived xenografts samples demonstrates common mutations and structural variations similar to those reported in primary pancreatic cancer. Xenograft tumors were dissociated to single-cells and in-vitro drug sensitivity screen assays demonstrated chemo-resistance, correlating with patient clinical scenarios, thus serving as a platform for clinically relevant translational research. Therefore, establishment of this novel ascites/pleural effusion patient derived xenograft model, with extensive histopathology and genomic characterization, opens an opportunity for the study of advanced aggressive pancreatic cancer. Characterization of metastatic disease and mechanisms of resistance to therapeutics may lead to the development of novel drug combinations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40778-40790
Number of pages13
Issue number25
StatePublished - 2017


  • Ascites
  • Metastatic
  • Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC)
  • Patient derived xenograft (PDX)
  • Whole genome sequencing (WGS)


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