In vivo MRI of cancer cell fate at the single-cell level in a mouse model of breast cancer metastasis to the brain

Authors

  • Chris Heyn,

    1. Imaging Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada
    2. Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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    • C. Heyn and J.A. Ronald contributed equally to this work

  • John A. Ronald,

    1. Imaging Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada
    2. Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
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    • C. Heyn and J.A. Ronald contributed equally to this work

  • Soha S. Ramadan,

    1. Imaging Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada
    2. Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
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  • Jonatan A. Snir,

    1. Imaging Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada
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  • Andrea M. Barry,

    1. Imaging Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada
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  • Lisa T. MacKenzie,

    1. Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
    2. London Regional Cancer Program, London, Ontario, Canada
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  • David J. Mikulis,

    1. Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Department of Medical Imaging, Toronto Western Hospital of The University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Diane Palmieri,

    1. Women's Cancers Section, Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology, Center for Cancer Research, NCI, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
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  • Julie L. Bronder,

    1. Women's Cancers Section, Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology, Center for Cancer Research, NCI, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
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  • Patricia S. Steeg,

    1. Women's Cancers Section, Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology, Center for Cancer Research, NCI, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
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  • Toshiyuki Yoneda,

    1. University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA
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  • Ian C. MacDonald,

    1. Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
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  • Ann F. Chambers,

    1. Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
    2. London Regional Cancer Program, London, Ontario, Canada
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  • Brian K. Rutt,

    1. Imaging Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada
    2. Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
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  • Paula J. Foster

    Corresponding author
    1. Imaging Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada
    2. Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
    • Imaging Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute, 100 Perth Drive, London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 5K8
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  • This article is a US Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.

Abstract

Metastasis (the spread of cancer from a primary tumor to secondary organs) is responsible for most cancer deaths. The ability to follow the fate of a population of tumor cells over time in an experimental animal would provide a powerful new way to monitor the metastatic process. Here we describe a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique that permits the tracking of breast cancer cells in a mouse model of brain metastasis at the single-cell level. Cancer cells that were injected into the left ventricle of the mouse heart and then delivered to the brain were detectable on MR images. This allowed the visualization of the initial delivery and distribution of cells, as well as the growth of tumors from a subset of these cells within the whole intact brain volume. The ability to follow the metastatic process from the single-cell stage through metastatic growth, and to quantify and monitor the presence of solitary undivided cells will facilitate progress in understanding the mechanisms of brain metastasis and tumor dormancy, and the development of therapeutics to treat this disease. Magn Reson Med, 2006. Published 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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