Quantitation of murine stroma and selective purification of the human tumor component of patient-derived xenografts for genomic analysis Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Genomics
  • Neoplasms
  • Stromal Cells


  • © 2016 Schneeberger et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.Patient-derived xenograft (PDX) mouse models are increasingly used for preclinical therapeutic testing of human cancer. A limitation in molecular and genetic characterization of PDX tumors is the presence of integral murine stroma. This is particularly problematic for genomic sequencing of PDX models. Rapid and dependable approaches for quantitating stromal content and purifying the malignant human component of these tumors are needed. We used a recently developed technique exploiting species-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplicon length (ssPAL) differences to define the fractional composition of murine and human DNA, which was proportional to the fractional composition of cells in a series of lung cancer PDX lines. We compared four methods of human cancer cell isolation: fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), an immunomagnetic mouse cell depletion (MCD) approach, and two distinct EpCAM-based immunomagnetic positive selection methods. We further analyzed DNA extracted from the resulting enriched human cancer cells by targeted sequencing using a clinically validated multi-gene panel. Stromal content varied widely among tumors of similar histology, but appeared stable over multiple serial tumor passages of an individual model. FACS and MCD were superior to either positive selection approach, especially in cases of high stromal content, and consistently allowed high quality human-specific genomic profiling. ssPAL is a dependable approach to quantitation of murine stromal content, and MCD is a simple, efficient, and high yield approach to human cancer cell isolation for genomic analysis of PDX tumors.

publication date

  • September 2016



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC5017757

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0160587

PubMed ID

  • 27611664

Additional Document Info


  • 11


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