Intravital microscopy of tumor angiogenesis and regression in the dorsal skin fold chamber: mechanistic insights and preclinical testing of therapeutic strategies

Clin Exp Metastasis. 2009;26(4):329-44. doi: 10.1007/s10585-008-9234-7. Epub 2009 Feb 4.


Tumor angiogenesis is a major step in tumor progression to clinically symptomatic cancer and thus a potential target for cancer therapy. It is essential to understand the fundamental mechanisms of the angiogenic processes to provide a rational for testing inhibitory strategies for cancer treatment. The dorsal skin fold chamber provides a suitable (chronic) model for intravital microscopy to monitor the same tumor in time-lapse imaging series and in real-time functional analysis e.g., of blood flow. Adaptation of this model to several rodent species and tumor types has led to numerous physical and drug based therapy options. With modification of implantation techniques, motility and invasion of individual cells can be visualized, in addition to angiogenesis and microcirculation. Modern fluorescent techniques such as ex vivo labelling of specific cell populations and the introduction of stably fluorescent protein expressing cell lines further enhance the suitability of this technique. In addition, laser scanning and multiphoton microscopy in combination with genetically altered mouse strains and cell lines are making the DCSF even more attractive for mechanistic and interventional studies in cancer research. Here we review the preparation as well as the applications of the DCSF in tumor angiogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Video*
  • Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / diagnosis*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy
  • Skin / blood supply