by Katja Hueper, Mahmoud Elalfy, Florian Laenger, Roman Halter, Thomas Rodt, Michael Galanski, Juergen Borlak
More than 100,000 chemicals are in use but have not been tested for their safety. To overcome limitations in the cancer bioassay several alternative testing strategies are explored. The inability to monitor non-invasively onset and progression of disease limits, however, the value of current testing strategies. Here, we report the application of in vivo imaging to a c-Myc transgenic mouse model of liver cancer for the development of a short-term cancer bioassay. Methodology/Principal Findings
µCT and 18F-FDG µPET were used to detect and quantify tumor lesions after treatment with the genotoxic carcinogen NDEA, the tumor promoting agent BHT or the hepatotoxin paracetamol. Tumor growth was investigated between the ages of 4 to 8.5 months and contrast-enhanced µCT imaging detected liver lesions as well as metastatic spread with high sensitivity and accuracy as confirmed by histopathology. Significant differences in the onset of tumor growth, tumor load and glucose metabolism were observed when the NDEA treatment group was compared with any of the other treatment groups. NDEA treatment of c-Myc transgenic mice significantly accelerated tumor growth and caused metastatic spread of HCC in to lung but this treatment also induced primary lung cancer growth. In contrast, BHT and paracetamol did not promote hepatocarcinogenesis. Conclusions/Significance
The present study evidences the accuracy of in vivo imaging in defining tumor growth, tumor load, lesion number and metastatic spread. Consequently, the application of in vivo imaging techniques to transgenic animal models may possibly enable short-term cancer bioassays to significantly improve hazard identification and follow-up examinations of different organs by non-invasive methods.