New research shows that keeping laboratory mice warmer could mean more realistic results in cancer research studies. Lab temperatures are often 4-10 degrees colder that the toasty 30 degrees Celsius preferred by mice. Authors of a new study out of Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, suggest the mice use more energy to keep warm in a cooler lab environment. This behavior could affect how the animals respond to cancer and treatments. Lead study author Elizabeth Repasky says the researchers are “concerned that too many publications in which results differ, either between labs in various countries or within the same lab, may be due to environmental conditions.” Colder environments cause chronic metabolic stress in mice, which can promote tumor growth and metastasis and slow down recovery.


Kathleen M. Kokolus, Maegan L. Capitanoa, Chen-Ting Lee, Jason W.-L. Eng, Jeremy D. Waight, Bonnie L. Hylander, Sandra Sexton, Chi-Chen Hong, Christopher J. Gordon, Scott I. Abrams & Elizabeth A. Repasky.

Corresponding author:

Elizabeth A. Repasky

Original paper, published on April 19, 2016 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States of America.

Associated news story, published in Nature.