Detection of Lung Tumor Progression in Mice by Ultrasound Imaging
Nour Ghaddar, Shuo Wang, Véronique Michaud, Urszula Kazimierczak, Nicolas Ah-son, Antonis E. Koromilas
With ~1.6 million victims per year, lung cancer contributes tremendously to the worldwide burden of cancer. Lung cancer is partly driven by genetic alterations in oncogenes such as the KRAS oncogene, which constitutes ~25% of lung cancer cases. The difficulty in therapeutically targeting KRAS-driven lung cancer partly stems from having poor models that can mimic the progression of the disease in the lab. We describe a method that permits the relative quantification of primary KRAS lung tumors in a Cre-inducible LSL-KRAS G12D mouse model via ultrasound imaging. This method relies on brightness (B)-mode acquisition of the lung parenchyma. Tumors that are initially formed in this model are visualized as B-lines and can be quantified by counting the number of B-lines present in the acquired images. These would represent the relative tumor number formed on the surface of the mouse lung. As the formed tumors develop with time, they are perceived as deep clefts within the lung parenchyma. Since the circumference of the formed tumor is well-defined, calculating the relative tumor volume is achieved by measuring the length and width of the tumor and applying them in the formula used for tumor caliper measurements. Ultrasound imaging is a non-invasive, fast and user-friendly technique that is often used for tumor quantifications in mice. Although artifacts may appear when obtaining ultrasound images, it has been shown that this imaging technique is more advantageous for tumor quantifications in mice compared to other imaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT) imaging and bioluminescence imaging (BLI). Researchers can investigate novel therapeutic targets using this technique by comparing lung tumor initiation and progression between different groups of mice.