In vivo label-free optical signatures of chemotherapy response in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma patient-derived xenografts

Commun Biol. 2023 Sep 25;6(1):980. doi: 10.1038/s42003-023-05368-y.


Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease often detected at later stages, necessitating swift and effective chemotherapy treatment. However, chemoresistance is common and its mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, label-free multi-modal nonlinear optical microscopy was applied to study microstructural and functional features of pancreatic tumors in vivo to monitor inter- and intra-tumor heterogeneity and treatment response. Patient-derived xenografts with human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma were implanted into mice and characterized over five weeks of intraperitoneal chemotherapy (FIRINOX or Gem/NabP) with known responsiveness/resistance. Resistant and responsive tumors exhibited a similar initial metabolic response, but by week 5 the resistant tumor deviated significantly from the responsive tumor, indicating that a representative response may take up to five weeks to appear. This biphasic metabolic response in a chemoresistant tumor reveals the possibility of intra-tumor spatiotemporal heterogeneity of drug responsiveness. These results, though limited by small sample size, suggest the possibility for further work characterizing chemoresistance mechanisms using nonlinear optical microscopy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal* / drug therapy
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Heterografts
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / drug therapy