Validation of a combined ultrasound and bioluminescence imaging system with magnetic resonance imaging in orthotopic pancreatic murine tumors

Sci Rep. 2022 Jan 7;12(1):102. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-03684-z.


Preclinical mouse solid tumor models are widely used to evaluate efficacy of novel cancer therapeutics. Recent reports have highlighted the need for utilizing orthotopic implantation to represent clinical disease more accurately, however the deep tissue location of these tumors makes longitudinal assessment challenging without the use of imaging techniques. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of a new multi-modality high-throughput in vivo imaging system that combines bioluminescence imaging (BLI) with robotic, hands-free ultrasound (US) for evaluating orthotopic mouse models. Long utilized in cancer research as independent modalities, we hypothesized that the combination of BLI and US would offer complementary advantages of detection sensitivity and quantification accuracy, while mitigating individual technological weaknesses. Bioluminescent pancreatic tumor cells were injected into the pancreas tail of C57BL/6 mice and imaged weekly with the combination system and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to serve as a gold standard. BLI photon flux was quantified to assess tumor activity and distribution, and US and MRI datasets were manually segmented for gross tumor volume. Robotic US and MRI demonstrated a strong agreement (R2 = 0.94) for tumor volume measurement. BLI showed a weak overall agreement with MRI (R2 = 0.21), however, it offered the greatest sensitivity to detecting the presence of tumors. We conclude that combining BLI with robotic US offers an efficient screening tool for orthotopic tumor models.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease Progression
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Multimodal Imaging
  • Optical Imaging*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Burden
  • Ultrasonography*