Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy of Chemotherapy-Induced Apoptosis Resistance in a Syngenic Mouse Tumor Model

Int J Cancer. 2010 Jan 1;126(1):104-13. doi: 10.1002/ijc.24730.


During cancer therapy with DNA-damaging drug-agents, the development of secondary resistance to apoptosis can be observed. In the search for novel therapeutic approaches that can be used in these cases, we monitored chemotherapy-induced apoptosis resistance in a syngenic mouse tumor model. For this, syngenic murine colorectal carcinoma cells, which stably expressed a FRET-based caspase-3 activity sensor, were introduced into animals to induce peritoneal carcinomatosis or disseminated hepatic metastases. This syngenic system allowed in vitro, in vivo and ex vivo analysis of chemotherapy induced apoptosis induction by optically monitoring the caspase-3 sensor state in the tumor cells. Tumor tissue analysis of 5-FU treated mice showed the selection of 5-FU-induced apoptosis resistant tumor cells. These and chemo-naive fluorescent tumor cells could be re-isolated from treated and untreated mice and propagated in cell culture. Re-exposure to 5-FU and second line treatment modalities in this ex-vivo setting showed that 5-FU induced apoptosis resistance could be alleviated by imatinib mesylate (Gleevec). We thus show that syngenic mouse systems that stably express a FRET-based caspase-3 sensor can be employed to analyse the therapeutic efficiency of apoptosis inducing chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Base Sequence
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • DNA Primers
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer
  • Fluorouracil / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • DNA Primers
  • Caspase 3
  • Fluorouracil