ILAR journal

Ovine pulmonary adenocarcinoma: a large animal model for human lung cancer.

PMID 25991702


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Recent progress in understanding the molecular pathogenesis of this disease has resulted in novel therapeutic strategies targeting specific groups of patients. Further studies are required to provide additional advances in diagnosis and treatment. Animal models are valuable tools for studying oncogenesis in lung cancer, particularly during the early stages of disease where tissues are rarely available from human cases. Mice have traditionally been used for studying lung cancer in vivo, and a variety of spontaneous and transgenic models are available. However, it is recognized that other species may also be informative for studies of cancer. Ovine pulmonary adenocarcinoma (OPA) is a naturally occurring lung cancer of sheep caused by retrovirus infection and has several features in common with adenocarcinoma of humans, including a similar histological appearance and activation of common cell signaling pathways. Additionally, the size and organization of human lungs are much closer to those of sheep lungs than to those of mice, which facilitates experimental approaches in sheep that are not available in mice. Thus OPA presents opportunities for studying lung tumor development that can complement conventional murine models. Here we describe the potential applications of OPA as a model for human lung adenocarcinoma with an emphasis on the various in vivo and in vitro experimental systems available.