Computed tomography with segmentation and quantification of individual organs in a D. melanogaster tumor model

Sci Rep. 2022 Feb 8;12(1):2056. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-05991-5.


Drosophila melanogaster tumor models are growing in popularity, driven by the high degree of genetic as well as functional conservation to humans. The most common method to measure the effects of a tumor on distant organs of a human cancer patient is to use computed tomography (CT), often used in diagnosing cachexia, a debilitating cancer-induced syndrome most visibly characterized by loss of muscle mass. Successful application of high resolution micro-CT scanning of D. melanogaster was recently reported and we here present the segmentation of all visible larval organs at several stages of tumor development. We previously showed the strong expected reduction in muscle mass as the tumor develops, and we here report a surprisingly strong reduction also in gut and Malpighian tubules (kidney) volume. Time-point of tumor development was found to have a stronger correlation to cachectic organ volume loss than tumor volume, giving support to the previously proposed idea that tumor size does not directly determine degree of cachexia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cachexia / pathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Larva / growth & development
  • Malpighian Tubules / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Organ Size / physiology
  • X-Ray Microtomography