Object. Although human meningioma cells have been heterotopically implanted in nude mice, introducing these cells into intracranial locations seems more likely to reproduce normal patterns of tumor growth. To provide an orthotopic xenograft model of meningioma, the authors implanted a controlled quantity of meningioma cells at subdural and intracerebral sites in athymic mice.
Methods. Malignant (one tumor), atypical (two tumors), or benign (three tumors) meningiomas were placed into primary cell cultures. Cells (106/10 µl) from these cultures and from an immortalized malignant meningioma cell line, IOMM-Lee, were injected with stereotactic guidance into the frontal white matter or subdural space of athymic mice. Survival curves were plotted for mice receiving tumor cells of each histological type and according to injection site. Other mice were killed at intervals and their heads were sectioned whole. Hematoxylin and eosin staining of these sections revealed the extent of tumor growth.
Conclusions. The median length of survival for mice with malignant, atypical, or benign tumors was 19, 42, or longer than 84 days, respectively. Atypical and malignant tumors were invasive, but did not metastasize extracranially. Malignant tumors uniformly showed leptomeningeal dissemination and those implanted intracerebrally grew locally and spread noncontiguously to the ventricles, choroid plexus, convexities, and skull base. Tumors formed in only 50% of mice injected with benign meningioma cells, whereas injection of more aggressive cells was uniformly successful at tumor production. The three types of human meningiomas grown intracranially in athymic mice maintained their relative positions in the spectrum of malignancy. However, atypical meningiomas became more aggressive after xenografting and acquired malignant features, implying that there had been immune constraint in the original host. Tumor cells injected into brain parenchyma migrated to more optimal environments and grew best there. This model provides insights into the biology of meningiomas and may be useful for testing new therapies.