Modeling of Solid-Tumor Microenvironment in Zebrafish (Danio Rerio) Larvae

  • Yuxiao Yao
  • Lei Wang
  • Xu WangEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1219)


The zebrafish larvae have emerged as a powerful model for studying tumorigenesis in vivo, with remarkable conservation with mammals in genetics, molecular and cell biology. Zebrafish tumor models bear the significant advantages of optical clarity in comparison to that in the mammalian models, allowing noninvasive investigation of the tumor cell and its microenvironment at single-cell resolution. Here we review recent progressions in the field of zebrafish models of solid tumor diseases in two main categories: the genetically engineered tumor models in which all cells in the tumor microenvironment are zebrafish cells, and xenograft tumor models in which the tumor microenvironment is composed of zebrafish cells and cells from other species. Notably, the zebrafish patient-derived xenograft (zPDX) models can be used for personalized drug assessment on primary tumor biopsies, including the pancreatic cancer. For the future studies, a series of high throughput drug screenings on the library of transgenic zebrafish models of solid tumor are expected to provide systematic database of oncogenic mutation, cell-of-origin, and leading compounds; and the humanization of zebrafish in genetics and cellular composition will make it more practical hosts for zPDX modeling. Together, zebrafish tumor model systems are unique and convenient in vivo platforms, with great potential to serve as valuable tools for cancer researches.


Tumor microenvironment Animal model Zebrafish Transgenesis Xenograft Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells 


Financial Support

  • National Natural Science Foundation of China 81402582 and 81802333.

  • Natural Science Foundation of Shanghai 14YF1400600 and 18ZR1404500.

  • Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province 2018A030310053.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cancer Metabolism LaboratoryCancer Institute, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer CenterShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Metabolism and Molecular Medicine, Ministry of Education, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Basic Medical SciencesFudan UniversityShanghaiChina

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