Characterization of tumor microenvironment in neuroblastoma

Characterization of tumor microenvironment in neuroblastoma (Faranak Azarbayjani) 

In Sweden, there are about 300 cases of childhood cancer each year (ages 0-18 years) Neuroblastoma is a childhood cancer that affects 10-15 children per year in Sweden. The number of reported cases of childhood cancer, especially neuroblastoma (NB), has increased in recent decades. NB is an example of a childhood cancer with poor prognosis where the tumor can spread to bones, liver, lymph nodes and bone marrow. The mortality rate for NB is high (about 40%), so it is important to have new treatment strategies in addition to chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy.

This places great demands on the development of new preclinical models regarding new drugs for the treatment of children with cancer.

We have therefore developed an orthotopic model for NB where tumor cells are injected into the adrenal gland of immunodeficient mice. The tumor thus grows in a microenvironment where the clinically relevant interaction between the tumor and its stroma can be maintained.

In this model, we have shown that 100% of the mice develop palpable tumors that resemble the clinical picture with growth in the adrenal gland and metastasis to the liver and bone marrow.

We have treated these tumor-bearing animals with angiogenesis inhibitors, low dose cytotoxic drugs or a combination of these two and have studied tumor volume (primary tumor and metastasis) and tumor angiogenesis before and after treatment. We now want to focus on studying tumor stroma and gain more knowledge about this important compartment in treated animals that have responded differently to treatment with different angiogenic inhibitors.