High Frequency Ultrasound vs Surgery to Develop an Orthotopic Model of Thyroid Cancer

This study by Greco et al. highlights the benefits of using Ultra High Frequency Ultrasound-guided injection versus surgery to generate an orthotopic mouse model of thyroid cancer.

Article Summary:

  • Follicular thyroid cancer (FTC) responds poorly to many therapies, leading to poor prognosis
  • Need for a better model of FTC; orthotopic is preferred over transgenic (too expensive) and subcutaneous (doesn’t replicate the tumor microenvironment)
  • Surgery often used to create orthotopic models but is highly-invasive; doesn’t fit well with new RRR (Replace, Reduce, Refine) trends in animal care
  • Studied the generation of an orthotopic FTC model using ultrasound (US)-guided injection versus surgery
  •  Vevo ultrasound used in both groups after tumor implantation to monitor tumor volume and metastasis
  • Implantation procedure and recovery from anesthetic was faster with US (avg. 7min) versus surgery (avg. 13min)
  • Implantation was more precise in the US group, with less bilateral invasion of the thyroid lobes (thought to be caused by the surgical procedure, not metastasis)
  • Mice in the US group survived longer than the surgical group ​


This study concludes that ultrasound-guided injection is a precise, reproducible and non-invasive method for generating orthotopic FTC models that is also practical and very feasible compared to a surgical procedure.


1. Greco A, Albanese S, Auletta L, et al. High-Frequency Ultrasound-Guided Injection for the Generation of a Novel Orthotopic Mouse Model of Human Thyroid Carcinoma. Thyroid. 2016;26(4):552-558. doi:10.1089/thy.2015.0511.