De Melo, Bernardo, A., Thorsteinsdóttir, S., & Mummery, C.L. (2015) Advantages of the avian model for human ovarian cancer (Review). Molecular and Clinical Oncology, 3, 1191-1198.
Ovarian cancer (OC) is the most lethal gynecological cancer. Early detection of OC is crucial for providing efficient treatment, whereas high mortality rates correlate with late detection of OC, when the tumor has already metastasized to other organs. The most prevalent type of OC is epithelial OC (EOC). Models that have been used to study EOC include the fruit fly, mouse and laying hen, in addition to human EOC cells in 3D culture in vitro. These models have helped in the elucidation of the genetic component of this disease and the development of drug therapies. However, the histological origin of EOC and early markers of the disease remain largely unknown. In this study, we aimed to review the relative value of each of the different models in EOC and their contributions to understanding this disease. It was concluded that the spontaneous occurrence of EOC in the adult hen, the prolific ovulation, the similarity of metastatic progression with that in humans and the advantages of using the chicken embryo for modelling the development of the reproductive system, renders the hen particularly suitable for studying the early development of EOC. Further investigation of this avian model may contribute to a better understanding of EOC, improve clinical insight and ultimately contribute to decreasing its mortality rates among humans.