Establishment and characterization of patient-derived xenografts as paraclinical models for head and neck cancer

Han Na Kang, Jae Hwan Kim, A. Young Park, Jae Woo Choi, Sun Min Lim, Jinna Kim, Eun Joo Shin, Min Hee Hong, Kyoung Ho Pyo, Mi Ran Yun, Dong Hwi Kim, Hanna Lee, Sun Och Yoon, Da Hee Kim, Young Min Park, Hyung Kwon Byeon, Inkyung Jung, Soonmyung Paik, Yoon Woo Koh, Byoung Chul ChoHye Ryun Kim

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: We investigated whether head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) reaffirm patient responses to anti-cancer therapeutics. Methods: Tumors from HNSCC patients were transplanted into immunodeficient mice and propagated via subsequent implantation. We evaluated established PDXs by histology, genomic profiling, and in vivo anti-cancer efficacy testing to confirm them as the authentic in vivo platform. Results: From 62 HNSCCs, 15 (24%) PDXs were established. The primary cancer types were tongue (8), oropharynx (3), hypopharynx (1), ethmoid sinus cancer (1), supraglottic cancer (1), and parotid gland (1); six PDXs (40%) were established from biopsy specimens from advanced HNSCC. PDXs mostly retained donor characteristics and remained stable across passages. PIK3CA (H1047R), HRAS (G12D), and TP53 mutations (H193R, I195T, R248W, R273H, E298X) and EGFR, CCND1, MYC, and PIK3CA amplifications were identified. Using the acquisition method, biopsy showed a significantly higher engraftment rate when compared with that of surgical resection (100% [6/6] vs. 16.1% [9/56], P < 0.001). Specimens obtained from metastatic sites showed a significantly higher engraftment rate than did those from primary sites (100% [9/9] vs. 11.3% [6/53], P < 0.001). Three PDX models from HPV-positive tumors were established, as compared to 12 from HPV-negative (15.8% [3/19] and 27.9% [12/43] respectively, P = 0.311), suggesting that HPV positivity tends to show a low engraftment rate. Drug responses in PDX recapitulated the clinical responses of the matching patients with pan-HER inhibitors and pan-PI3K inhibitor. Conclusions: Genetically and clinically annotated HNSCC PDXs could be useful preclinical tools for evaluating biomarkers, therapeutic targets, and new drug discovery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number316
JournalBMC cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 15

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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