The tumor microenvironment is rich in components that strongly influence cancer cell survival. One of the pivotal molecules present at the tumor bed is ATP, which has an essential role in promoting cancer proliferation and metastasis and immune responses via its receptor P2X7. Several studies have proved the efficacy of P2X7 pharmacological blockade in inhibiting primary and metastatic tumor growth in preclinical models. Here we describe the experimental procedures that we optimized to test P2X7 roles in carcinogenesis by antagonist administration. Special attention is paid to their concentrations and routes of administration. The depicted in vitro models include cell count and viability assays, which are useful to test P2X7 roles in cell proliferation and vitality, and the soft agar colony formation test that allows investigation of the transforming and invading abilities of tumor cells. We also describe systemic and intramass administration of P2X7 blockers in murine models of melanoma and leukemia. Both xenotransplant and syngeneic experimental tumor models are detailed.
De Marchi E.
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