Optimisation of the Chicken Chorioallantoic Membrane Assay in Uveal Melanoma Research

The treatment of uveal melanoma and its metastases has not evolved sufficiently over the last decades in comparison to other tumour entities, posing a great challenge in the field of ocular oncology. Despite improvements in the conventional treatment regime and new discoveries about the genetic and molecular background of the primary tumour, effective treatment strategies to either prevent tumours or treat patients with advanced or metastatic disease are still lacking. New therapeutic options are necessary in order to achieve satisfactory local tumour control, reduce the risk of metastasis development, and preserve the eyeball and possibly the visual function of the eye. The development of in vivo model systems remains crucial for the identification and investigation of potential novel treatment modalities. The aim of this study was the optimisation of the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) model for uveal melanoma research. We analysed the established CAM assay and its modification after the implantation of three-dimensional spheroids. The chorioallantoic membrane of a chick embryo was used to implant uveal melanoma-cell-line-derived spheroids in order to study their growth rate, angiogenic potential, and metastatic capability. Using the UM 92.1, UPMD2, UPMM3, and Mel270 cell lines, we were able to improve the viability of the embryos from 20% to >80% and to achieve up to a fourfold volume increase of the transplanted spheroid masses. The results point to the value of an optimised chicken embryo assay as an in vivo model for testing novel therapies for uveal melanoma by simplifying the research conditions and by contributing to a considerable reduction in animal experiments.


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