Defining Cancer Stem Cells by Xenotransplantation in Zebrafish

  • Michael C. Dovey
  • Leonard I. Zon
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 568)


The zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become an increasingly utilized and relevant model organism in the study of cancer. The use of transgenic and reverse genetic approaches has yielded several strains that model a variety of human neoplasms. In addition to modeling human disease, these strains provide a platform for the analysis of tumor stem cells. Here we describe the basic technique for the isolation and transplantation of tumor tissue in the zebrafish. This technique was designed to study metastasis and invasive potential of zebrafish tumor cells. Additionally, the basic protocol can be modified in order to describe cancer stem cell characteristics, including proliferative capacity, self-renewal, and the minimum number of tumor cells required for engraftment.

Key words

Zebrafish Cancer stem cells Transplantation Metastasis 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press, a part of Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael C. Dovey
    • 1
  • Leonard I. Zon
    • 2
  1. 1.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Stem Cell Program and Division Hematology/Oncology Children’s Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Stem Cell InstituteHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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