Ultrasound-Guided Intramural Inoculation of Orthotopic Bladder Cancer Xenografts: A Novel High-Precision Approach

Wolfgang Jäger, Igor Moskalev, Claudia Janssen, Tetsutaro Hayashi, Shannon Awrey, Kilian M Gust, Alan I So, Kaixin Zhang, Ladan Fazli, Estelle Li, Joachim W Thüroff, Dirk Lange, Peter C Black
PLoS ONE2013
Orthotopic bladder cancer xenografts are essential for testing novel therapies and molecular manipulations of cell lines in vivo. Current xenografts rely on tumor cell inoculation by intravesical instillation or direct injection into the bladder wall. Instillation is limited by the lack of cell lines that are tumorigenic when delivered in this manner. The invasive model inflicts morbidity on the mice by the need for laparotomy and mobilization of the bladder. Furthermore this procedure is complex and time-consuming. Three bladder cancer cell lines (UM-UC1, UM-UC3, UM-UC13) were inoculated into 50 athymic nude mice by percutaneous injection under ultrasound guidance. PBS was first injected between the muscle wall and the mucosa to separate these layers, and tumor cells were subsequently injected into this space. Bioluminescence and ultrasound were used to monitor tumor growth. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound was used to study changes in tumor perfusion after systemic gemcitabine/cisplatin treatment. To demonstrate proof of principle that therapeutic agents can be injected into established xenografts under ultrasound guidance, oncolytic virus (VSV) was injected into UM-UC3 tumors. Xenograft tissue was harvested for immunohistochemistry after 23-37 days. Percutaneous injection of tumor cells into the bladder wall was performed efficiently (mean time: 5.7 min) and without complications in all 50 animals. Ultrasound and bioluminescence confirmed presence of tumor in the anterior bladder wall in all animals 3 days later. The average tumor volumes increased steadily over the study period. UM-UC13 tumors showed a marked decrease in volume and perfusion after chemotherapy. Immunohistochemical staining for VSV-G demonstrated virus uptake in all UM-UC3 tumors after intratumoral injection. We have developed a novel method for creating orthotopic bladder cancer xenograft in a minimally invasive fashion. In our hands this has replaced the traditional model requiring laparotomy, because this model is more time efficient, more precise and associated with less morbidity for the mice.
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