Direct implantation of VX-2 carcinoma: a new rabbit bone model using a three-dimensional matrix as a carrier for the tumor cells

Eur Surg Res. 2011;47(3):154-8. doi: 10.1159/000330451. Epub 2011 Sep 27.


Background: Animal bone models are inevitable for musculoskeletal research. The induction of a local bone tumor is complex and time consuming. In this study a new model is presented using a direct implantation of tumor cells into the bone without a preliminary passaging of the cells.

Methods: A three-dimensional matrix consisting of alginate spheroids and carrying the VX-2 tumor suspension was used for implantation into the bone of 6 female New Zealand white rabbits. X-ray imaging, CT and MRI scans as well as a histological examination were carried out.

Results: All rabbits developed local bone tumor in the metaphysis of the femoral leg. Bone tumor was identifiable on average 6.2 weeks after implantation. Fluoroscopy, CT and MRI scans showed a cortical reaction but no destruction of the compact bone together with a mean tumor size of 14 mm. Histological examination revealed a tumor infiltration with an activation of osteoclasts and an osteoclastic resorption.

Conclusion: The direct implantation of a VX-2 tumor suspension into the rabbit bone using alginate spheroids is an effective and reproducible way to successfully induce bone tumor. This new animal model allows further examination of surgical and minimal invasive therapy in musculoskeletal research.

MeSH terms

  • Alginates
  • Animals
  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Bone Neoplasms / surgery
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Glucuronic Acid
  • Hexuronic Acids
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Rabbits
  • Spheroids, Cellular / diagnostic imaging
  • Spheroids, Cellular / pathology*
  • Tissue Scaffolds
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Alginates
  • Hexuronic Acids
  • Glucuronic Acid