Magnetic resonance imaging-guided intracranial resection of glioblastoma tumors in patient-derived orthotopic xenografts leads to clinically relevant tumor recurrence

BMC Cancer. 2024 Jan 2;24(1):3. doi: 10.1186/s12885-023-11774-6.


Background: Preclinical in vivo cancer models are essential tools for investigating tumor progression and response to treatment prior to clinical trials. Although treatment modalities are regularly assessed in mice upon tumor growth in vivo, surgical resection remains challenging, particularly in the orthotopic site. Here, we report a successful surgical resection of glioblastoma (GBM) in patient-derived orthotopic xenografts (PDOXs).

Methods: We derived a cohort of 46 GBM PDOX models that faithfully recapitulate human disease in mice. We assessed the detection and quantification of intracranial tumors using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).To evaluate feasibility of surgical resection in PDOXs, we selected two models representing histopathological features of GBM tumors, including diffuse growth into the mouse brain. Surgical resection in the mouse brains was performed based on MRI-guided coordinates. Survival study followed by MRI and immunohistochemistry-based evaluation of recurrent tumors allowed for assessment of clinically relevant parameters.

Results: We demonstrate the utility of MRI for the noninvasive assessment of in vivo tumor growth, preoperative programming of resection coordinates and follow-up of tumor recurrence. We report tumor detection by MRI in 90% of GBM PDOX models (36/40), of which 55% (22/40) can be reliably quantified during tumor growth. We show that a surgical resection protocol in mice carrying diffuse primary GBM tumors in the brain leads to clinically relevant outcomes. Similar to neurosurgery in patients, we achieved a near total to complete extent of tumor resection, and mice with resected tumors presented significantly increased survival. The remaining unresected GBM cells that invaded the normal mouse brain prior to surgery regrew tumors with similar histopathological features and tumor microenvironments to the primary tumors.

Conclusions: Our data positions GBM PDOXs developed in mouse brains as a valuable preclinical model for conducting therapeutic studies that involve surgical tumor resection. The high detectability of tumors by MRI across a substantial number of PDOX models in mice will allow for scalability of our approach toward specific tumor types for efficacy studies in precision medicine-oriented approaches. Additionally, these models hold promise for the development of enhanced image-guided surgery protocols.

Keywords: Brain surgery; Glioblastoma; In vivo imaging; Patient-derived orthotopic xenograft; Tumor resection.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Glioblastoma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Glioblastoma* / pathology
  • Glioblastoma* / surgery
  • Heterografts
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Mice
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery
  • Tumor Microenvironment