Outcome studies of many types of cancer have revealed that tumors of indistinguishable histologic appearance may differ significantly in aggressiveness and in their response to therapy. A strategy that would enable early identification of patients at high risk for disease progression and allow screening of multiple therapeutic agents simultaneously for efficacy would improve clinical management. We have developed an orthotopic organ culture model of bladder cancer in which quantum dot-based fluorescent imaging approaches are used to obtain quantitative measurements of tumor cell behavior. Human transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) cells are labeled with quantum dot nanoparticles, and the cells instilled into the rat bladder in vivo, after which the bladder is excised and cultured ex vivo. Cell implantation, proliferation, and invasion into the organ wall are monitored using epifluorescence imaging and two-photon laser scanning confocal microscopy. Using this approach, we were able to assign distinct phenotypes to two metastatic bladder cancer cell lines based on different patterns of invasiveness into the bladder wall. We also showed that established tumor cell masses regressed following intravesical administration of the chemotherapeutic drug thiotepa. Collectively, these findings suggest that this assay system, which we have named EViTAS (for ex vivo tumor assay system), can recapitulate salient aspects of tumor growth in the host and is amenable to behavioral profiling of human cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research