Krasmutant genetically engineered mouse models of human cancers are genomically heterogeneous

Research Highlight

Mouse cancers match human cancers

©Adam Gault/OJO Images/Getty

Mice genetically engineered to have a cancer-causing mutation grow tumours with as much variability as human tumours, affirming their value in discovering and testing therapies.

The KRAS gene is mutated in many human cancers, such as bowel and lung, and treatments for these tumours are lacking. Mice genetically engineered to carry KRAS mutations are often used as models to study these cancers but their tumours have not been well-characterized. Researchers at Roche analysed gene expression and the accumulation of mutations in these mouse models and compared them with human tumours.

The team found significant genetic variation both within and between tumours in the mice. The level of variation was similar to that in human tumours, and although the types of mutations differed, many of the same genes were mutated in the mouse and human tumours. The thorough understanding of the genetic diversity of these mouse models will improve our ability to develop and test therapies.

Supported content


  1. PNAS 114, E10947-E10955 (2017). doi: 10.1073/pnas.1708391114
Institutions Authors Share
Genentech, Inc., United States of America (USA)