Bilateral murine tumor models for characterizing the response to immune checkpoint blockade

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17 Citations (Scopus)


The therapeutic response to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) is highly variable, not only between different cancers but also between patients with the same cancer type. The biological mechanisms underlying these differences in response are incompletely understood. Identifying correlates in patient tumor samples is challenging because of genetic and environmental variability. Murine studies usually compare different tumor models or treatments, introducing potential confounding variables. This protocol describes bilateral murine tumor models, derived from syngeneic cancer cell lines, that display a symmetrical yet dichotomous response to ICB. These models enable detailed analysis of whole tumors in a highly homogeneous background, combined with knowledge of the therapeutic outcome within a few weeks, and could potentially be used for mechanistic studies using other (immuno-)therapies. We discuss key considerations and describe how to use two cell lines as fully optimized models. We discuss experimental details, including proper inoculation technique to achieve symmetry and one-sided surgical tumor removal, which takes only 5 min per mouse. Furthermore, we outline the preparation of bulk tissue or single-cell suspensions for downstream analyses such as bulk RNA-seq, immunohistochemistry, single-cell RNA-seq and flow cytometry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1628-1648
Number of pages21
JournalNature Protocols
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


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