Animal Models to Study Cancer and Its Microenvironment

  • N. MendesEmail author
  • P. Dias Carvalho
  • F. Martins
  • S. Mendonça
  • A. R. Malheiro
  • A. Ribeiro
  • J. Carvalho
  • S. VelhoEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1219)


Cancers are complex tissues composed by genetically altered cancer cells and stromal elements such as inflammatory/immune cells, fibroblasts, endothelial cells and pericytes, neuronal cells, and a non-cellular component, the extracellular matrix. The complex network of interactions and crosstalk established between cancer cells and the supportig cellular and non-cellular components of the microenvironment are of extreme importance for tumor initiation and progression, strongly impacting the course and the outcome of the disease. Therefore, a better understanding of the tumorigenic processes implies the combined study of the cancer cell and the biologic, chemical and mechanic constituents of the tumor microenvironment, as their concerted action plays a major role in the carcinogenic pathway and is a key determinant of the efficacy of anti-cancer treatments. The use of animal models (e.g. Mouse, Zebrafish and Drosophila) to study cancer has greatly impacted our understanding of the processes governing initiation, progression and metastasis and allowed the discovery and pre-clinical validation of novel cancer treatments as it allows to recreate tumor development in a more pathophysiologic environment.


Tumor microenvironment (TME) Animal models Mouse Zebrafish Drosophila Cancer progression Metastasis 



AR, SM, FM were hired through FEDER funds through the Operational Programme for Competitiveness Factors (COMPETE 2020), Programa Operacional de Competitividade e Internacionalização (POCI), Programa Operacional Regional do Norte (Norte 2020), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and by National Funds through the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), under the projects PTDC/MED-ONC/31354/2017, POCI-01-0145-FEDER-016390, and NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000029, respectively. SV and JC were hired by IPATIMUP under norma transitória do DL n.° 57/2016 alterada pela Law n.° 57/2017.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Mendes
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • P. Dias Carvalho
    • 1
    • 2
  • F. Martins
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Mendonça
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. R. Malheiro
    • 1
    • 3
  • A. Ribeiro
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Carvalho
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Velho
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.i3S, Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em SaúdePortoPortugal
  2. 2.IPATIMUP, Instituto de Patologia Molecular e Imunologia da Universidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.IBMC, Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular da Universidade do PortoPortoPortugal

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