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This article is the author’s final published version in Science Advances, Volume 7, Issue 38, September 2021, Article number eabc8145.

The published version is available at Copyright © Sun et al.


Most breast cancer deaths are caused by estrogen receptor-α-positive (ER+) disease. Preclinical progress is hampered by a shortage of therapy-naïve ER+ tumor models that recapitulate metastatic progression and clinically relevant therapy resistance. Human prolactin (hPRL) is a risk factor for primary and metastatic ER+ breast cancer. Because mouse prolactin fails to activate hPRL receptors, we developed a prolactin-humanized Nod-SCID-IL2Rγ (NSG) mouse (NSG-Pro) with physiological hPRL levels. Here, we show that NSG-Pro mice facilitate establishment of therapy-naïve, estrogen-dependent PDX tumors that progress to lethal metastatic disease. Preclinical trials provide first-in-mouse efficacy of pharmacological hPRL suppression on residual ER+ human breast cancer metastases and document divergent biology and drug responsiveness of tumors grown in NSG-Pro versus NSG mice. Oncogenomic analyses of PDX lines in NSG-Pro mice revealed clinically relevant therapy-resistance mechanisms and unexpected, potently actionable vulnerabilities such as DNA-repair aberrations. The NSG-Pro mouse unlocks previously inaccessible precision medicine approaches for ER+ breast cancers.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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