The use of in vitro and in vivo models is intended to reproduce the key events in the process of metastasis to closely represent reality in the patient pre-clinical stage, which provides tools for the study of the key mechanisms for molecular and functional characterisation of tumours, as well as tools for clinical use.

Roberto Piñeiro Cid is head of the Modelling line of the Roche-Chus Joint Unit.

In Vitro Models

Tumour and metastatic environments are composed of a large number of stimuli, both physical and biochemical. The experimental reproduction of these environments through simulation, by developing complex systems in the laboratory – three dimensional models – that mimic both the spatial behaviour of the various cellular components involved in the process of metastasis, and the contribution of the dynamic environment which occurs in the development of the disease, are nowadays real alternatives that can provide information of interest in the study of the metastatic process.


The development of experimental models that approximate most closely the clinical reality, today represents a challenge for research projects. In vitro preclinical models representing a clinically relevant and realistic perspective on the determinants of metastatic disease offer a competitive advantage over classical cell cultures.

Zebrafish as an In Vivo Study Model

Animal models complement in vitromodels in preclinical research. One of the models recently introduced in oncology is based on zebrafish xenografts en investigación preclínica, siendo uno de estos modelos es el basado en xenotransplante en zebrafish, modelo de reciente implantación en oncología.


The possibility of injecting a small number of marked tumour cells in the embryo of the zebrafish and monitoring in real time by microscopy, quantifying tumour growth, allows quick and inexpensive functional trials in an in vivo experimental model and it can also lead to a drug screening tool. Real-time tracking of these clinically relevant models provides statistically robust results with a low number of animals.



Roberto Piñeiro Cid
Head of the Cancer Modelling Line of the Roche-Chus Joint Unit
Carmen Abuín Redondo
Laboratory Technician of the Roche-Chus Joint Unit
Inés Martínez Pena
FPU predoctoral student of the Cancer Modeling line of the Roche-Chus joint Unit
Pablo Hurtado Blanco
Predoctoral student of the Cancer Modeling line of the Roche-Chus joint Unit

La Unidad Mixta Roche-Chus está cofinanciada por la Axencia Galega de Innovación, GAIN de la Xunta de Galicia: “Subvención a organismos de investigación de Galicia para a creación, posta en marcha e impulso de Unidades Mixtas de Investigación” de la Xunta de Galicia en el marco del Plan Galego de Investigación, Innovación e Crecemento- i2C.