Models of breast cancer: Quo vadis, animal modeling?

Kay Uwe Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Rodent models for breast cancer have for many decades provided unparalleled insights into cellular and molecular aspects of neoplastic transformation and tumorigenesis. Despite recent improvements in the fidelity of genetically engineered mice, rodent models are still being criticized by many colleagues for not being 'authentic' enough to the human disease. Motives for this criticism are manifold and range from a very general antipathy against the rodent model system to well-founded arguments that highlight physiological variations between species. Newly proposed differences in genetic pathways that cause cancer in humans and mice invigorated the ongoing discussion about the legitimacy of the murine system to model the human disease. The present commentary intends to stimulate a debate on this subject by providing the background about new developments in animal modeling, by disputing suggested limitations of genetically engineered, mice, and by discussing improvements but also ambiguous expectations on the authenticity of xenograft models to faithfully mimic the human disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalBreast Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast neoplasms
  • Gene targeting
  • Genetic models
  • Genetic techniques
  • Genetically engineered mice
  • Xenograft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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