Open Access Short Report

Morphologic characterization of osteosarcoma growth on the chick chorioallantoic membrane

Maurice Balke1*, Anna Neumann2, Christian Kersting3, Konstantin Agelopoulos2, Carsten Gebert4, Georg Gosheger1, Horst Buerger3 and Martin Hagedorn5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany

2 Gerhard-Domagk-Institute of Pathology, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany

3 Institute of Pathology, Paderborn, Germany

4 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Orthopädische Klinik Volmarstein, Wetter, Germany

5 INSERM U920 - Laboratoire des mécanismes moléculaires de l'angiogenèse, University Bordeaux 1, Talence cedex, France

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BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:58  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-58

Published: 4 March 2010



The chick chorio-allantoic membrane (CAM) assay is a commonly used method for studying angiogenic or anti-angiogenic activities in vivo. The ease of access allows direct monitoring of tumour growth by biomicroscopy and the possibility to screen many samples in an inexpensive way. The CAM model provides a powerful tool to study effects of molecules, which interfere with physiological angiogenesis, or experimental tumours derived from cancer cell lines. We therefore screened eight osteosarcoma cell lines for their ability to form vascularized tumours on the CAM.


We implanted 3-5 million cells of human osteosarcoma lines (HOS, MG63, MNNG-HOS, OST, SAOS, SJSA1, U2OS, ZK58) on the CAM at day 10 of embryonic development. Tumour growth was monitored by in vivo biomicroscopy at different time points and tumours were fixed in paraformaldehyde seven days after cell grafting. The tissue was observed, photographed and selected cases were further analyzed using standard histology.

From the eight cell lines the MNNG-HOS, U2OS and SAOS were able to form solid tumours when grafted on the CAM. The MNNG-HOS tumours showed the most reliable and consistent growth and were able to penetrate the chorionic epithelium, grow in the CAM stroma and induce a strong angiogenic response.


Our results show that the CAM assay is a useful tool for studying osteosarcoma growth. The model provides an excellent alternative to current rodent models and could serve as a preclinical screening assay for anticancer molecules. It might increase the speed and efficacy of the development of new drugs for the treatment of osteosarcoma.