Modeling leukemia with zebrafish (Danio rerio): Towards precision medicine

Zhen Ni Yi, Xiang Ke Chen, Alvin Chun Hang Ma

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Leukemia is a type of blood cancer characterized by high genetic heterogeneity and fatality. While chemotherapy remains the primary form of treatment for leukemia, its effectiveness was profoundly diminished by the genetic heterogeneity and cytogenetic abnormalities of leukemic cells. Therefore, there is an unmet need to develop precision medicine for leukemia with distinct genetic backgrounds. Zebrafish (Danio rerio), a freshwater fish with exceptional feasibility in genome editing, is a powerful tool for rapid human cancer modeling. In the past decades, zebrafish have been adopted in modeling human leukemia, exploring the molecular mechanisms of underlying genetic abnormalities, and discovering novel therapeutic agents. Although many recurrent mutations of leukemia have been modeled in zebrafish for pathological study and drug discovery, its great potential in leukemia modeling was not yet fully exploited, particularly in precision medicine. In this review, we evaluated the current zebrafish models of leukemia/pre-leukemia and genetic techniques and discussed the potential of zebrafish models with novel techniques, which may contribute to the development of zebrafish as a disease model for precision medicine in treating leukemia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113401
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2022


  • Disease modeling
  • Genetic heterogeneity
  • Genetic manipulation
  • Leukemia
  • Personalized medicine
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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