NYMC Faculty Publications

If You Give a Mouse a Mutation: Comparing the Therapeutic Utility of Renowned Mouse Models of Human Cancers

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Journal of Comparative Pathology

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Cell Biology and Anatomy


Cancers of the breast, prostate and intestinal tract account for most cancer-associated deaths in humans and represent several of the highest incidence human neoplasms. Therefore, understanding the underlying pathophysiology, including the formation and propagation of these cancers, is key to designing potential treatments. Over the last 50 years or more, genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) have been instrumental platforms to our discovery of neoplastic disease as many follow near-identical molecular and histological progression as human tumours. In this mini review, we summarize three key preclinical models and focus on some of the major findings in relation to clinical care. We discuss the MMTV-PyMT (polyomavirus middle T antigen) mouse, TRAMP (transgenic adenocarcinoma mouse prostate) mouse and APC (multiple intestinal neoplasm mutation of APC gene) mouse, which mimic breast, prostate and intestinal cancers, respectively. We aim to describe the significant contributions these GEMMs have made to our collective understanding of high-incidence cancers as well as briefly discuss the limitations of each model as a device for therapeutic discovery.