Drug resistance profiling of a new triple negative breast cancer patient-derived xenograft model

Margarite D. Matossian, Hope E. Burks, Steven Elliott, Van T. Hoang, Annie C. Bowles, Rachel A. Sabol, Bahia Wahba, Muralidharan Anbalagan, Brian Rowan, Mohamed E. Abazeed, Bruce A. Bunnell, Krzysztof Moroz, Lucio Miele, Lyndsay V. Rhodes, Steven D. Jones, Elizabeth C. Martin, Bridgette M. Collins-Burow, Matthew E. Burow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) represents an aggressive subtype with limited therapeutic options. Experimental preclinical models that recapitulate their tumors of origin can accelerate target identification, thereby potentially improving therapeutic efficacy. Patient-derived xenografts (PDXs), due to their genomic and transcriptomic fidelity to the tumors from which they are derived, are poised to improve the preclinical testing of drug-target combinations in translational models. Despite the previous development of breast and TNBC PDX models, those derived from patients with demonstrated health-disparities are lacking. Methods: We use an aggressive TNBC PDX model propagated in SCID/Beige mice that was established from an African-American woman, TU-BcX-2 K1, and assess its metastatic potential and drug sensitivities under distinct in vitro conditions. Cellular derivatives of the primary tumor or the PDX were grown in 2D culture conditions or grown in mammospheres 3D culture. Flow cytometry and fluorescence staining was used to quantify cancer stem cell-like populations. qRT-PCR was used to describe the mesenchymal gene signature of the tumor. The sensitivity of TU-BcX-2 K1-derived cells to anti-neoplastic oncology drugs was compared in adherent cells and mammospheres. Drug response was evaluated using a live/dead staining kit and crystal violet staining. Results: TU-BcX-2 K1 has a low propensity for metastasis, reflects a mesenchymal state, and contains a large burden of cancer stem cells. We show that TU-BcX-2 K1 cells have differential responses to cytotoxic and targeted therapies in 2D compared to 3D culture conditions insofar as several drug classes conferred sensitivity in 2D but not in 3D culture, or cells grown as mammospheres. Conclusions: Here we introduce a new TNBC PDX model and demonstrate the differences in evaluating drug sensitivity in adherent cells compared to mammosphere, or suspension, culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number205
JournalBMC cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 7 2019


  • Chemoresistance
  • Mammosphere
  • Patient-derived xenograft
  • Triple-negative breast cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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