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Animal models for cancer cachexia

Ballarò, Riccardo; Costelli, Paola; Penna, Fabio

Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care: December 2016 - Volume 10 - Issue 4 - p 281–287
doi: 10.1097/SPC.0000000000000233
CACHEXIA, NUTRITION AND HYDRATION: Edited by Aminah Jatoi and Florian Strasser
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Purpose of review Cancer cachexia is a frequent syndrome that affects patient quality of life, anticancer treatment effectiveness, and overall survival. The lack of anticancer cachexia therapies likely relies on the complexity of the syndrome that renders difficult to design appropriate clinical trials and, conversely, on the insufficient knowledge of the underlying pathogenetic mechanisms. The aim of this review is to collect the most relevant latest information regarding cancer cachexia with a special focus on the experimental systems adopted for modeling the disease in translational studies.

Recent findings The scenario of preclinical models for the study of cancer cachexia is not static and is rapidly evolving in parallel with new prospective treatment options. The well established syngeneic models using rodent cancer cells injected ectopically are now used alongside new ones featuring orthotopic injection, human cancer cell or patient-derived xenograft, or spontaneous tumors in genetically engineered mice.

Summary The use of more complex animal models that better resemble cancer cachexia, ideally including also the administration of chemotherapy, will expand the understanding of the underlying mechanisms and will allow a more reliable evaluation of prospective drugs for translational purposes.

aDepartment of Clinical and Biological Sciences, Unit of Experimental Medicine and Clinical Pathology, University of Torino, Torino

bInteruniversity Institute of Myology, Reggio Emilia, Italy

Correspondence to Fabio Penna, Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, Unit of Experimental Medicine and Clinical Pathology, University of Torino, Corso Raffaello, 30, 10125 Torino, Italy. Tel: +39 0116707062; fax: +39 0116707759; e-mail: fabio.penna@unito.it

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