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Early diagnosis of prostate cancer (PCa) is critical for the application of efficient treatment to PCa patients. However, the majority of PCas remains indolent from several months to several years before malignancy. Current diagnosis methods have limitations in their reliability and are inefficient in time cost. Thus, an efficient in vivo PCa cell xenograft model is highly desired for diagnostic studies in PCas. In the present study we present a standardized procedure to create a PCa cell xenograft model using zebrafish (Danio rerio) as the host. PC3-CTR cells, a cell line from adenocarcinoma with stable expression of calcitonin receptor (CRT), were subcutaneously injected into zebrafish larvae at 48 h post fertilization. The nursing conditions for the larvae were optimized with stable survival rates of post hatch and post PC3-CTR cell injection. In this system, the progression of PC3-CTR cells in vivo was evaluated by migration and proliferation of the cells. Massive migrations of PC3 cells in vivo were observed at post injection day (PID)3. The injected PC3-CTR cells eventually invaded the whole larval zebrafish at PID5. Quantification of PC3-CTR cell proliferation was done using quantitative PCR (qPCR) analysis targeting the expression profiles of two PCa housekeeping genes, TATA-binding protein (TBP) and hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase 1 (HPRT1) encoding genes. The excessive proliferation of PC3 cells in vivo was detected with both qPCR assays. Expression levels of one non-coding gene, prostate cancer associated 3 gene (pca3), and two other genes encoding transient receptor potential ion channel Melastatin 8 (trpm8) and prostate-specific membrane antigen (psma), showed a significantly enhanced aggressiveness of PC3-CTR cells in vivo. The model established in the present study provides an improved in vivo model for the diagnosis of PCas efficiently. This PCa cell xenograft model can also serve as a tool for high throughput anti-PCa drug screening in therapeutic treatments.

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International Journal of Oncology

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