Dynamic imaging of cancer growth and invasion: a modified skin-fold chamber model

Histochem Cell Biol. 2008 Dec;130(6):1147-54. doi: 10.1007/s00418-008-0529-1. Epub 2008 Nov 6.


The metastatic invasion of cancer cells from the primary lesion into the adjacent stroma is a key step in cancer progression, and is associated with poor outcome. The principles of cancer invasion have been experimentally addressed in various in vitro models; however, key steps and mechanisms in vivo remain unclear. Here, we establish a modified skin-fold chamber model for orthotopic implantation, growth and invasion of human HT-1080 fibrosarcoma cells, dynamically reconstructed by epifluorescence and multiphoton microscopy. This strategy allows repeated imaging of tumor growth, tumor-induced angiogenesis and invasion, as either individual cells, or collective strands and cell masses that move along collagen-rich extracellular matrix and coopt host tissue including striated muscle strands and lymph vessels. This modified window model will be suited to address mechanisms of cancer invasion and metastasis, and related experimental therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Fibrosarcoma / blood supply
  • Fibrosarcoma / genetics
  • Fibrosarcoma / metabolism
  • Fibrosarcoma / pathology*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence, Multiphoton
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Neoplasms, Experimental
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Stromal Cells / pathology
  • Time Factors
  • Transfection
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • Luminescent Proteins
  • enhanced green fluorescent protein
  • red fluorescent protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins