We have developed a novel orthotopic rat hepatocellular (HCC) model and have assessed the ability to use bioluminescence imaging (BLI), positron emission tomography (PET), and ultrasound for early tumor detection and monitoring of disease progression. Briefly, rat HCC cells were stably transfected with click beetle red as a reporter gene for BLI. Tumor cells were injected under direct visualization into the left or middle lobe of the liver in 37 rats. In six animals, serial PET, BLI, and ultrasound imaging were performed at 10-time points in 28 days. The remainder of the animals underwent PET imaging at 14 days. Tumor implantation was successful in 34 of 37 animals (91.9%). In the six animals that underwent serial imaging, tumor formation was first detected with BLI on Day 4 with continued increase through Day 21, and hypermetabolic activity on PET was first noted on Days 14-15 with continued increase through Day 28. PET activity was seen on Day 14 in the 28 other animals that demonstrated tumor development. Anatomic tumor formation was detected with ultrasound at Days 10-12 with continued growth through Day 28. The first metastases were detected by PET after Day 24. We have successfully developed and validated a novel orthotopic HCC small animal model that permits longitudinal assessment of change in tumor size using molecular imaging techniques. BLI is the most sensitive imaging method for detection of early tumor formation and growth. This model permits high-throughput in vivo evaluation of image-guided therapies.
View details for DOI 10.7759/cureus.281
View details for PubMedID 26180705
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4494575