Can mouse models of cancer reliably improve clinical trial outcome?

Author(s): Grit S Herter-Sprie & Kwok-Kin Wong

One of the major threats humankind faces today is cancer. Incidences of neoplasia worldwide are estimated to translate to 13 million cancer deaths by 2030. Despite promising response rates through treatment modalities such as surgical resection as well as chemo- and radiation therapy in a few cancer entities, we still lack sufficient therapeutics that provide long-term survival in cancer patients, especially in patients with advanced disease. Hence, accelerated translation of highly encouraging in vitro and in vivo preclinical therapeutic findings is urgently needed to meet the demand for novel cancer drugs to combat cancer mortality successfully. Genetically engineered mouse models recapitulating characteristics of human disease have become an indispensable tool in cancer research to predict clinical outcome. This commentary highlights current benefits and limitations of developing novel mouse models of cancer to subsequently improve clinical trial outcome in humans.