Mouse models for cancer research

Cancer cell line-derived xenograft (CDX) model


Cancer cell line-derived xenograft (CDX) model is a well-established mouse model type commonly used for cancer research and anti-tumor drug development, due to its user-friendly techniques and outstanding repeatability. In CDX models, cancer cells are inoculated into immuno-deficient mice via various routes. 

Recipient mice

Balb/c nude mice, NOD/SCID or other immunodeficient mice. A few examples are listed below:

Rag1 knockout immunodeficient mice (NM-KO-00069)

Rag2 knockout immunodeficient mice (NM-KO-00070)

Severe immunodeficient mice (NMG)

View more immunodeficient mouse strains

Available services for oncology study with CDX models 

SMOC provides technical services such as tumor growth measurement, body weight monitoring, biochemical analysis, pathological examination, expression profiling and in vivo imaging.

Featured cancer cell lines used in CDX models 

Human/mouse cell lines used for subcutaneous tumor formation


Human/mouse cell lines for studying tumor metastasis 


CDX case studies 

Case study 1




Fig1: Optical imaging of bioluminescent subcutaneous and metastatic CDX models. (A-B) Human colon cancer cells genetically engineered to express firefly luciferase gene were injected via carotid artery into nude mice. The expression level of the luciferase gene was measured at 7, 14 and 18 days post injection by in vivo bioluminescence imaging. (C) Imaging of a A549Luc-mediated in situ lung cancer model. (D) B16Luc-mediated in situ/metastatic tumor development. 

Case study 2


Fig2: Histopathological study of a heterotopic HepG2 xenograft model. (Left) Normal liver tissue; (Right) Subcutaneous tumor formed by HepG2 cells on nude mice. 

Case study 3


Fig 3: A549-mediated subcutaneous tumor formation on NMG mice. 

Case study 4


Fig 4: Evaluation of efficacy and toxicity of anti-tumor drug candidates D1 and D2 on A549 (A&B)- and MSTO-211H (C&D)-bearing mouse models. (A&C) Comparison of average tumor volumes. (B&D) Comparison of mouse body weights. (E) Immunohistological analysis of Vegf expression in tumors harvested from MSTO-211H -bearing nude mice either treated with anti-tumor drug or not. (F) Live animal imaging to track tumor growth in vivo. Nude mice were subcutaneously inoculated with A549 cells that constitutively express EGFP. Tumor growth was evaluated at multiple time points post inoculation. 

For more information about CDX models and available services, please contact our technical support team at 

Liver cancer patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model

Patient-derived Xenografts (PDX) are advanced preclinical oncology model for drug development. It offers an alternative for preclinical drug evaluation.

  • By maintaining genotypic and phenotypic diversity of patient tumor tissues, PDX captures a more faithful representation of the human tumor's characteristics.

  • PDX preserves tumor stroma and tumor microenvironments.

  • Compared to cancer cell lines, PDX offers a better reflection of cancer patients' drug sensitivity and tolerance levels during drug screening.

Applications include:

  • Screening and biomarker development of anti-cancer drugs

  • Precision medicine

  • Study on tumor mechanisms

Shanghai Model Organisms Center has successfully established more than 60 types of liver cancer PDX models and identified their key characteristics through the analysis of genomics, histopathology, growth characteristics, drug responses to standard treatments, etc. Our research has demonstrated that those PDX models reflect the heterogeneity of patient tumors in various aspects, including their molecular, genetic and histological complexities. Our wide-range offering of PDX models allows highly-efficient testing and analysis of drug efficacy in different pre-clinical settings. 


Fig 1. Tumor growth curves of liver cancer PDX models mesured post drug treatment 

For more information on Liver cancer PDX models and services, please call us or contact our online customer service.

DEN-induced primary liver cancer model


Diethylnitrosamine (DEN) is a carcinogen of liver cancer. A mouse model of primary liver cancer can be established in about 6 months after intraperitoneal injection of DEN.

Sample requirements

Male C57 mice of 16 days old

Service cycle

6 months

Study metrics

1) Serum test: biochemistry (ALT, AST, HA, ALB);

2) Pathological test: HE, MASSON staining;

3) Detection of mRNA level: Real-time PCR;

4) Detection of protein level: Western blot, FACS;

5) Mortality: Higher mortality is seen after intraperitoneal injection of DEN in young mice

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