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Table 1 Advantages and limitations of preclinical HNSCC models

From: Preclinical models of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma for a basic understanding of cancer biology and its translation into efficient therapies

Preclinical model Major advantages Limitations Pathogenesis modelling Low-throughput drug screening High throughput drug screening Precision oncologya Immune-oncologyb
Immortalized cell lines - low expenses
- ease of maintenance
- amenable to genetic manipulation
- chromosomal instability
- low retention of genetic features
++ ++
Primary 2D cultures - high take rate
- moderate expenses
- amenable to genetic manipulation
- no resemblance of tumor architecture and cellular microenvironment ++ + ++
Organoids - resemblance of tumor architecture
- retention of genetic heterogeneity
- reconstitution with stroma-immune components possible
- time and cost consuming
- poorly validated HNSCC model
- unknown effects of mouse-derived ECM components on cell behavior
++ ++ ± ++ ++
Patient-derived xenografts - retention of histological and genetic features of original tumor
- tumor- (mouse-) stroma interactions
- time and cost consuming
- reconstitution of immune system challenging
++ + ±
Carcinogen induced mouse models - close resemblance of OC tumors
- retention of genetic heterogeneity
- immunocompetent model
- extended time until development of carcinomas
- not all HNSCC sites can be modelled
++ + ±
Genetically engineered mouse models - recapitulation of tumor initiation and progression
- modeling of complex processes, e.g. tumor angiogenesis
- immunocompetent model
- time and cost consuming
- unpredictable frequency and latency of tumor formation
- genetic alterations driving tumor formation rare in HNSCC
++ + ±
  1. Potential applications were judged as suitable (++), possible (+), not very suitable (±) or unsuitable (−)
  2. The suitability of the models for individual response predictiona and development of immune-oncology drugsb is given
  3. OC oral cavity, ECM extracellular matrix