A model for the detection of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma circulating tumor cells
Keywords:pancreatic adenocarcinoma, circulating tumor cells, metastasis, bioluminescent imaging, orthotopic implantation
AbstractMetastatic disease is the leading cause of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) associated death. PDAC cells invade and enter the bloodstream early, before frank malignancy can be detected. Our objective was to develop an in vivo assay enabling the identification and quantification of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from primary orthotopic PDAC tumors. Human PDAC cells expressing luciferase and green fluorescent protein were orthotopically injected into the pancreas of mice utilizing ultrasound guidance. Bioluminescent imaging was conducted to identify and track tumor growth. CTCs were then isolated and analyzed by flow cytometry to detect GFP-expressing cancer cells. Tumor growth as measured by bioluminescent imaging increased over time. The concentration of CTCs correlated with the strength of bioluminescent imaging signal. In addition, livers bearing macroscopic disease were harvested for further imaging under fluorescence stereomicroscopy and confocal microscopy, which confirmed the presence of metastases. This study represents an orthotopic animal model that reliably detects the presence of CTCs from PDAC. There is a positive correlation between the concentrations of CTCs with overall tumor burden.
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