Rat and Mouse Brain Tumor Models for Experimental Neuro-Oncology Research

Upasana Sahu, Rolf F. Barth, Yoshihiro Otani, Ryan McCormack, Balveen Kaur

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Rodent brain tumor models have been useful for developing effective therapies for glioblastomas (GBMs). In this review, we first discuss the 3 most commonly used rat brain tumor models, the C6, 9L, and F98 gliomas, which are all induced by repeated injections of nitrosourea to adult rats. The C6 glioma arose in an outbred Wistar rat and its potential to evoke an alloimmune response is a serious limitation. The 9L gliosarcoma arose in a Fischer rat and is strongly immunogenic, which must be taken into consideration when using it for therapy studies. The F98 glioma may be the best of the 3 but it does not fully recapitulate human GBMs because it is weakly immunogenic. Next, we discuss a number of mouse models. The first are human patient-derived xenograft gliomas in immunodeficient mice. These have failed to reproduce the tumor-host interactions and microenvironment of human GBMs. Genetically engineered mouse models recapitulate the molecular alterations of GBMs in an immunocompetent environment and "humanized"mouse models repopulate with human immune cells. While the latter are rarely isogenic, expensive to produce, and challenging to use, they represent an important advance. The advantages and limitations of each of these brain tumor models are discussed. This information will assist investigators in selecting the most appropriate model for the specific focus of their research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbernlac021
JournalJournal of neuropathology and experimental neurology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • 9L
  • C6
  • F98 rat brain tumor models
  • Genetically engineered and humanized mouse brain models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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