Background: In a previous study using a rodent osteosarcoma-grafted rat model, in which cell-dependent mineralization was previously demonstrated to proportionally increase with growth, we performed a quantitative analysis of mineral deposit formation using (99m)Tc-HMDP and found some weaknesses, such as longer acquisition time and narrower dynamic ranges (i.e. images easily saturated). The recently developed near-infrared (NIR) optical imaging technique is expected to non-invasively evaluate changes in living small animals in a quantitative manner.
Purpose: To test the feasibility of NIR imaging with a dual-channel system as a better alternative for bone scintigraphy by quantitatively evaluating mineralization along with the growth of osteosarcoma lesions in a mouse-xenograft model.
Material and methods: The gross volume and mineralization of osteosarcoma lesions were evaluated in living mice simultaneously with dual-channels by NIR dye-labeled probes, 2-deoxyglucose (DG) and pamidronate (OS), respectively. To verify these quantitative data, retrieved osteosarcoma lesions were then subjected to ex-vivo imaging, weighing under wet conditions, microfocus-computed tomography (μCT) analysis, and histopathological examination.
Results: Because of less scattering and no anatomical overlapping, as generally shown, specific fluorescence signals targeted to the osteosarcoma lesions could be determined clearly by ex-vivo imaging. These data were well positively correlated with the in-vivo imaging data (r > 0.8, P < 0.02). Other good to excellent correlations (r > 0.8, P < 0.02) were observed between DG accumulation and tumor gross volume and between OS accumulation and mineralization volume.
Conclusion: This in-vivo NIR imaging technique using DG and OS is sensitive to the level to simultaneously detect and quantitatively evaluate the growth and mineralization occuring in this type of osteosarcoma lesions of living mice without either invasion or sacrifice. By possible mutual complementation, this dual imaging system might be useful for accurate diagnosis even in the presence of overlapping tissues.