Longitudinal imaging of cancer cell metastases in two preclinical models: a correlation of noninvasive imaging to histopathology

Int J Mol Imaging. 2014;2014:102702. doi: 10.1155/2014/102702. Epub 2014 Mar 3.


Metastatic spread is the leading cause of death from cancer. Early detection of cancer at primary and metastatic sites by noninvasive imaging modalities would be beneficial for both therapeutic intervention and disease management. Noninvasive imaging modalities such as bioluminescence (optical), positron emission tomography (PET)/X-ray computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide complementary information and accurately measure tumor growth as confirmed by histopathology. Methods. We validated two metastatic tumor models, MDA-MD-231-Luc and B16-F10-Luc intravenously injected, and 4T1-Luc cells orthotopically implanted into the mammary fat pad. Longitudinal whole body bioluminescence imaging (BLI) evaluated metastasis, and tumor burden of the melanoma cell line (B16-F10-Luc) was correlated with (PET)/CT and MRI. In addition, ex vivo imaging evaluated metastasis in relevant organs and histopathological analysis was used to confirm imaging. Results. BLI revealed successful colonization of cancer cells in both metastatic tumor models over a 4-week period. Furthermore, lung metastasis of B16-F10-Luc cells imaged by PET/CT at week four showed a strong correlation (R (2) = 0.9) with histopathology. The presence and degree of metastasis as determined by imaging correlated (R (2) = 0.7) well with histopathology findings. Conclusions. We validated two metastatic tumor models by longitudinal noninvasive imaging with good histopathology correlation.